News Corp. Said in Talks to Hire General Counsel Amid Phone-Hack Inquiry

News Corp. (NWSA) is in talks to hire Gerson Zweifach, a partner with the Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP, as general counsel, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

The discussions are at an advanced stage, according to the person, who declined to speak publicly because the talks are private. In more than 29 years at Williams & Connolly, Zweifach has tried antitrust, securities, libel and commercial cases, according to the firm’s website.

As top legal officer, a new general counsel may become point person for News Corp.’s handling of the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closing of the company’s News of the World tabloid in the U.K. and at least 21 arrests. Board member Joel Klein, a former federal prosecutor, is overseeing the company’s internal probe of its newspaper journalists’ actions.

Zweifach would replace Lawrence Jacobs, who left in June to pursue other opportunities. Janet Nova, a board member of the company’s News International publishing unit, has served as interim general counsel. The Wall Street Journal, owned by News Corp., reported the talks with Zweifach yesterday.

Jack Horner, a spokesman for New York-based News Corp., declined to comment. Officials with Williams & Connolly couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by telephone after normal business hours. Zweifach didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

News Corp., also owner of the Fox television network and Twentieth Century Fox film studio, rose 0.5 percent to $17.45 at 10:18 a.m. New York time. The Class A shares have gained 19 percent this year before today as the company has repurchased more than $2.4 billion of its stock.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with News Corp. units in providing financial news and information.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at; Edmund Lee in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at; Anthony Palazzo at

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