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Later this year there will be criminal trials in London for some of the dozens of former News Corp. employees who have been arrested, including Brooks. In the U.S., the Department of Justice continues to investigate News Corp. under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a law that makes it illegal for U.S. companies to offer gifts or payments to government officials overseas to gain a competitive edge. “Certainly, within News Corporation, there remains a persistent, if not a paranoid, fear that the Department of Justice is going to move against them,” (Michael) Wolff says. “The ultimate resolution has yet to take place.”
In 2011, News Corp. hired D.C. law firm Williams & Connolly to handle the FCPA investigation. In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that in addition to looking into the phone-hacking and police bribery charges in London, the DOJ has also been investigating allegations that Journal employees in China gave gifts to government officials in exchange for information. According to the Journal, the federal probe is nearing completion—possibly setting the stage for Williams & Connolly and the government to begin negotiating a settlement. “You hire Williams & Connolly because it says, ‘We are local, we get the game, and we are innocent. Oh, and by the way, if we’re not, we can work out a deal,’ ” says Levick, the crisis management fixer in Washington.
The first half of the Leveson Inquiry—the government’s investigation into the press’s role in phone hacking—has come and gone. The second laborious chapter, which will focus on the role of the police, will take place at some later date.
Believe it or not, the thrust of the article is that Murdoch has largely side-stepped most of the legal perils of the scandal. Perhaps for this reason, the more ominous passages, such as those above, stick out like sleek laptops atop a carpark rubbish bin.