On June 13, Eunice Huthart, a former champion of the TV competition series Gladiators and an erstwhile stunt double for Angelina Jolie, filed a civil suit in California seeking unspecified damages from News Corp. The suit alleges that on several occasions, while Huthart was living in the U.S. in 2004 and 2005, operatives at Rupert Murdoch’s papers in London illegally hacked into her voice-mail. To date, this is the first phone-hacking case to be filed against News Corp in the United States.
According to the 40-page complaint, the alleged violations took place while Huthart was living in Los Angeles and sharing an apartment in Brentwood with Jolie, her co-worker and friend. At the time, Huthart and Jolie were working together on the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith (which, coincidentally, was distributed by News Corp.’s 2oth Century Fox).
A spokesperson for News Corp. declined to comment.
Huthart, according to the complaint, believes that Murdoch’s London papers were hacking into her voice-mail in order to get information about Jolie. Huthart alleges that, along the way, the eavesdroppers deleted a number of her personal voice-mails. As a result, she allegedly missed messages and thereby failed to return phone calls from her teenage daughter, who was reaching out to her from Liverpool, England, to tell her mom about being bullied in school.
“During the same period, Plaintiff’s husband criticized her for not responding to his calls and the voice messages he left on her cellular telephone system,” reads the complaint. “He became very insecure as a result of her not getting back to him after he left voice messages. Their relationship suffered. Plaintiff’s husband suspected she was having an affair.”
Huthart alleges that Murdoch’s papers also hacked into her messages in order to surrepticiously gather information about Jolie’s budding relationship with Brad Pitt. According to the complaint, based on the alleged surveillance of this private information, Murdoch’s London tabloid the Sun was able to report an “exclusive,” revealing, among other things, that Pitt and Jolie had checked into a hotel while posing as a married couple.
Read the rest here at Business Week.