RUPERT Murdoch's News Corp is facing new hacking battles in the United States.
The British lawyer who helped expose the criminal culture inside the ' News of the World' has revealed plans to file at least three separate lawsuits on behalf of clients who claim their phones were hacked while they were on US soil.
Lawyers in California and New York are being lined up by Mark Lewis -- who represented the parents of the murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler -- in three individual cases expected to be filed against News Corp in the next few weeks.
In an interview with an American news website, Mr Lewis also revealed that his US legal targets includes the Murdoch empire's corporate arm, with a further suit centred on what he claimed were "the dirty tricks that might have been used in order to further the commercial aims for News Corporation".
Although no specifics have been given for what is claimed will be three high-profile cases, there is already speculation that Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell, the former England football captain David Beckham, and an associate of actor Jude Law, may have been victims hacked in the US.
Mr Lewis would only say that the cases which will be brought "imminently" are connected to the royal household and Princess Diana, with another alleged victim connected to England's national football team and the third a " Hollywood case in which the alleged victim was in contact with a top celebrity".
At least one of the cases, according to Mr Lewis, involves allegations that the phone of a US citizen was illegally accessed.
In his lengthy legal fights with News International in the UK, Mr Lewis has proved an awkward and difficult opponent.
He was instrumental in exposing the lie behind News International's repeated claim that phone hacking at the 'News of the World' was confined to "one rogue reporter".
Recently, after News International avoided the embarrassment of a high-profile court case involving the victims of phone hacking, Mr Lewis promised to "take it (the legal fight) to America".
The new development indicates that all the expensive legal muscle recently gathered by News Corp could soon be seeing frontline action.
The hiring of former US Justice Department lawyers and a former White House counsel suggests News Corp were anticipating potentially damaging hacking-related challenges coming through the US courts.
The imminent arrival of a hacking scandal will do little for News Corp's brand and the siege mentality it has tried to shake off by settling with the UK-based victims of the 'News of the World'.
News International is already being examined by the US Department of Justice. (© Independent News Service)