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Lawyer: New UK phone-hacking claims target Mirror newspapers

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By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

LONDON (CNN) – The ripples of the UK phone hacking scandal have spread further afield, with ex-England soccer manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and others filing claims against the Mirror newspaper group, their lawyer said.

Monday’s High Court claims against the Trinity Mirror group, which publishes Daily Mirror and Sunday tabloid The People, relate to voice mail interception and/or phone hacking, lawyer Mark Lewis said.

He named the claimants as Eriksson, whose private life was the subject of much tabloid coverage while he managed the England team; a former nanny for David and Victoria Beckham, Abbie Gibson; soccer player Garry Flitcroft; and British soap actress Shobna Gulati.

Other people have come forward since the news broke, Lewis told CNN Tuesday. “I have had contacts from other people this morning who have raised issues that I will have to look into,” he said.

He declined to comment on the damages his clients are seeking.

Trinity Mirror said Tuesday it had yet to be made formally aware of the claims.

“We note the allegations made against us by Mark Lewis in today’s papers,” the publisher said in a prepared statement. “We have not yet received any claims nor have we been provided with any substantiation for those claims.”

All its journalists work within the criminal law and the code of conduct of the Press Complaints Commission, the UK industry watchdog, Trinity Mirror said.

The claims filed by Lewis relate to a period when Piers Morgan, who now hosts a CNN talk show, “Piers Morgan Tonight,” was editor of the Daily Mirror.

Morgan has said in the past that he has never hacked a voice mail and vigorously denied ever ordering phone hacking.

Previous phone-hacking allegations have focused on newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., under its British publishing arm, News International.

The scandal over those claims has involved Britain’s politicians, police and media, sparking an independent judge-led inquiry as well as criminal prosecutions.

The inquiry was set up in response to widespread anger at the revelation that the phone of a murdered 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, was hacked by journalists in search of stories — and that many other crime and terror victims, politicians and celebrities had also been targeted.

Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid was the focus of much of the outrage, and his son James ordered it shut down over the scandal last year.

The News of the World’s publisher paid out hundreds of thousands of pounds earlier this year to settle lawsuits over phone hacking from celebrities and politicians, including former Tony Blair spokesman Alastair Campbell.

Morgan is a former editor of the News of the World, but left in 1995 — about seven years before the Milly Dowler hacking — and went to the Mirror, which he edited until 2004.

CNN’s Mark Thompson and Bharati Naik contributed to this report.

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