FOCUS: Look At Murdoch’s Lawyers
Look At Murdoch’s Lawyers
By John Dean, Guardian UK
13 August 11
For all you need to know about Rupert Murdoch, look at his lawyers. As Nixon’s counsel during Watergate, I can tell from the cost of News Corp’s legal team the scandal will not be contained long.
Americans are extremely interested in Rupert Murdoch’s unfolding scandal in the UK. As I wrote a few weeks ago, it has striking parallels with Watergate, an observation I offer based on personal knowledge and experience. (I am sure I speak for many Americans when I shout out a thank you to the Guardian, whose journalism on the Murdoch story is every bit as good, and in many instances better, than the legendary work of the Washington Post during Watergate.) Many Americans wonder if this scandal will leap the Atlantic or remain “contained” in Britain. Because of Watergate, I have some familiarity with containment – when it works and when it does not.
The answer depends on the width and depth of illegal behaviour. Cover-ups seldom work. At this time we know little about any cover up at News Corp, but hints have emerged. While not an ideal measurement of wrongdoing, I find there is usually a direct correlation between lawyers hired and the seriousness of the problem. Accordingly, I’ve been watching the lawyers who have become key actors in this story, and their actions suggest that this scandal will not be contained in the UK. Rather, with time, it will become an American scandal, although possibly with less consequences than in the UK, given the skilled legal team now at work.