Hugh Grant Got 'Enormous Sum' to Keep Suit Out of Court

Actor says he won't let windfall be 'hush money' after his snooping complaint against the UK tabloid
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2024 2:20 PM CDT
Hugh Grant Got 'Enormous Sum' to Keep Suit Out of Court
Hugh Grant arrives at the premiere of "Wonka" on Dec. 10, 2023, at Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, California.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Hugh Grant received "an enormous sum of money" to settle a lawsuit accusing the Sun of unlawfully tapping his phone, bugging his car, and breaking into his home, the actor said Wednesday after the agreement was announced in court. Grant, who along with Prince Harry had sued News Group Newspapers, said he settled reluctantly, as he could've been stuck with a huge legal bill even if he prevailed at trial. Under civil court rules, he would've had to pay legal fees on both sides if he was awarded anything less than the settlement offer, per the AP.

"As is common with entirely innocent people, they are offering me an enormous sum of money to keep this matter out of court," Grant wrote on X. "Even if every allegation is proven in court, I would still be liable for something approaching [$12.5 million] in costs. I'm afraid I am shying at that fence." The amount of the settlement wasn't disclosed. NGN said in a statement it admitted no liability and that the settlement was in the financial interest of both parties to avoid a costly trial.

Grant and other claimants have alleged that NGN, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, violated their privacy through widespread unlawful activity including hiring private investigators to intercept voicemails, tap phones, bug cars, and use deception to access confidential information between 1994 and 2016. Grant said in a witness statement he could never figure out who broke into his fourth-floor apartment in 2011. The door had been pried off its hinges and the interior looked like there'd been a fight—but nothing was missing.

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Two days later, the Sun had a story detailing the interior and "signs of a domestic row." Grant said he was astonished when a private eye hired by the Sun disclosed that people working for the newspaper had burglarized his apartment and placed a tracking device on his car. Grant, who previously settled a case against Murdoch's News of the World for hacking his phone, said he wouldn't go away quietly. "Murdoch's settlement money has a stink, and I refuse to let this be hush money," he said, adding that he'll direct the money to groups like Hacked Off, formed after phone hacking revelations in 2011 brought down News of the World. (More here.)

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