Fox News Corp Hires Top Criminal Defense Lawyers

Interesting article on Fox News Corp’s decision to go after one of the highest profile defense attorneys in the country. Full article below.

Posted by: Phoenix Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyers

The News Corporation has hired Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., the prominent white-collar defense lawyer, a person briefed on the matter said.

The hiring of Mr. Sullivan, a partner at Williams & Connolly in Washington, comes as the company’s escalating legal crisis in the British phone-hacking scandal spills over into the United States.

Mr. Sullivan is working with the News Corporation’s legal team, according to the person briefed on the matter, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it.

In response to requests from members of Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York opened a preliminary inquiry on Thursday into allegations that News Corporation journalists sought to gain access to the phone records of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, people briefed on the matter said. On Wednesday, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, suggested that government authorities should examine the case and consider starting a formal investigation.

A spokeswoman for the News Corporation did confirm that it had recently retained Williams & Connolly. Mr. Sullivan did not respond to calls for comment. News of Mr. Sullivan’s hiring was reported earlier by Thomson Reuters.

The scandal intensified last week after reports of additional phone hacking by the News Corporation-owned tabloid The News of the World. Rupert Murdoch, the head of the News Corporation, shut down the 168-year-old newspaper last weekend.

Mr. Murdoch said last week that Joel Klein, a former head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division who joined the News Corporation late last year in a nonlegal executive role, would provide “oversight and guidance” on the matter. Viet Dinh, another well-known Washington lawyer and director at News Corporation, is to keep the company’s board advised of the situation.

The News Corporation’s growing legal problems come at a time when the company lacks a general counsel. Last month Lawrence A. Jacobs, the company’s highest-ranking in-house lawyer, left “to pursue new opportunities.” Also this week, Tom Crone, the top lawyer at News International, the British subsidiary of the News Corporation, quit after 26 years with the company.

Mr. Sullivan is known for taking on some of the most difficult and high-profile white-collar cases, including a successful defense of Oliver North, the former marine in the Iran-Contra scandal; representing the former Housing and Urban Development secretary, Henry Cisnernos, in a perjury prosecution; and defending Richard A. Grasso, the former head of the New York Stock Exchange, in a case involving his compensation.

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