What goes up must come down, and it looks like it’s time for News International to fall hard on its ass. Does the U.S. DoJ have the drive to hit them when they’re down? I doubt it. Like the law professor quoted here, I’d guess that we’ll see a settlement that will still leave the Murdoch empire in an influential position:
The new round of criminal charges brought in the UK against former senior News International editors has once again raised the prospect that Rupert Murdoch’s New York-based parent company may be prosecuted under US anti-bribery laws, and complicates the rehabilitation of his son James as a possible successor to lead the global media empire.
The charges brought against Rebekah Brooks, who ran Murdoch’s newspaper holdings in Britain, Andy Coulson, former editor of the now defunct News of the World, and two other former News International employees exposes the parent News Corporation to possible action under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FCPA exists to prosecute US-domiciled companies for acts of bribery and corruption that they might commit abroad.
An official of the British ministry of defence, Bettina Jordan Barber, also faces trial for allegedly receiving £100,000 from Murdoch’s tabloid newspapers for information that led to a series of published stories. The allegation that money passed hands clearly falls within the legal remit of the FCPA.
Mike Koehler, professor of law at Southern Illinois school of law and author of the blog fcaprofessor.com, said the charges “would be hard for the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to ignore. We have been hearing allegations for a year and a half now, now we clearly have charges against high ranking officials at a foreign subsidiary,” he said.
[...] News Corp has largely shrugged off the scandal in the US, where its shares have risen over 34% in the last year. At News Corp’s recent annual shareholder meeting in October, Murdoch comfortably saw off attempts to appoint an independent chairman to the company. James Murdoch has recently been tipped to head Fox Networks, the News Corp television division that includes its flagship Fox channel, home to The Simpsons and American Idol.
But the new charges will increase pressure on the company. Koehler said US authorities would be looking to see how high up the chain of command the bribery scandal reached. “The question will be what did James know and when did he know it,” he said. Ultimately he predicted News Corp would reach a settlement with the Justice Department rather than go to trial, but he said that News Corp faced some uncomfortable investigations in the coming months.
First of all, I’m thankful for antibiotics. Even though they are causing me severe nausea that makes me wish I lived in a medical marijuana state!
Yesterday, despite my best efforts to avoid the supermarket, I had to go redeem my free turkey coupon (even though I’d already gotten a fresh one from the local butcher). It was a zoo in the supermarket parking lot, but folks were mostly picking up only a few items and heading out quickly, so it was a lot easier to get a parking spot.
I watched the Food Network during this bout with bronchitis (also caught up on the final three seasons of the BBC original “Shameless” on Netflix — one benefit to not being able to sleep more than a few hours) and saw that you can buy those pop-up thingies for your turkey that tell you it’s done. So I did. Then I came home and stashed the free frozen turkey in my landlord’s freezer (for Christmas, I guess).
I’m a little bummed that I had to cancel the big Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family, but grateful that my friend who already had this bug is coming anyway. What a letdown. I really did the Martha Stewart preparation thing this year, too — polished the family silver, ironed and folded the cloth napkins, got out the candles, washed the crystal, all that stuff. It was going to be my first large Thanksgiving in years (I used to host both families when I was married).
I remember last year, when my daughter-in-law made this sumptuous vegan feast and all I could eat of her fabulous food was the mashed potatoes (because I was so sick with diverticulitis). I do not seem to have good Thanksgiving karma lately.
But I am grateful: Grateful that I have health insurance this year, grateful for the support from all of you that made paying for it even possible. Thank you for letting me be myself!
Which reminds me: Will Rogers, who was a Cherokee, said:
“I love being down here in pilgrim country. I bet you when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and they had the whole of the American continent to themselves, and all they had to do to get another 160 acres was to kill another Indian, you know, well, I bet they kicked at the cost of ammunition. Now, I hope my Cherokee blood is not making me prejudiced, but it was only the generosity of the Indians that allowed the pilgrims to land in the first place. Suppose it was the other way around. Yeah, my ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower. They met the boat.”
“This is Thanksgiving. It was started by the Pilgrims, who would give thanks every time they killed an Indian and took more of his land. As years went by and they had all his land, they changed it into a day to give thanks for the bountiful harvest.”