Murdoch papers targeted Gordon Brown; ex-PM’s bank, legal, family medical records hacked: reports

Journalists from Rupert Murdoch's embattled British newspaper empire repeatedly hacked into the private accounts of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Reporters from several Murdoch-owned papers allegedly sought to dig up dirt on the former Labour party leader by hacking into his bank account, legal files, family medical records and other private records, according to bombshell reports by British news agencies. The new allegations included charges against The Sunday Times, the august broadsheet that had yet to be touched by the mushrooming scandal, which forced Murdoch to shutter his New of the World tabloid on Sunday. Murdoch also owns the New York Post. The British hacks allegedly took place over the course of a decade, during Brown's service as both Chancellor of the Exchequer and as prime minister. Brown's bank, Abbey National, found evidence that a conman working for The Sunday Times in 2000 stole private bank records by posing as the former prime minister on the phone or on the Web - an illegal practice known as "blagging," the BBC reported. Sources told the Guardian that Scotland Yard found references to both Brown and his wife in records seized from Genn Mulcaire, a private investigator who allegedly specialized in the hacking of phones for the News of the World. The Browns also feared that medical records of their son, Fraser, were stolen by the Murdoch's flagship tabloid, The Sun, for a story about the boy's cystic fibrosis in 2006, according to the BBC. There was also evidence that Brown's tax records were stolen from the offices of his accountants in 1998, the Guardian said. News International, Murdoch's newspaper publishing arm in the U.K., said in a statement, "We note the allegations made today concerning the reporting of matters relating to Gordon Brown. So that we can investigate these matters further, we ask that all information concerning these allegations is provided to us." Officials from Scotland Yard recently Continue Reading

Hugh Grant accuses Mail on Sunday of hacking: Actor reveals he’s been target of apartment break-in, leaked medical records

LONDON — Actor Hugh Grant told a London courtroom Monday about the dark side of celebrity life, describing mysterious break-ins, leaked medical details and hacked voice mails — and laying blame on the entire tabloid press, not just the now-shuttered News of the World. Grant’s testimony to a judge-led media ethics inquiry capped a tough day for Britain’s beleaguered press. Earlier, the parents of a murdered schoolgirl whose phone was targeted by the tabloid described how the hacking had given them false hope that their daughter was still alive. Grant said he believes his phone was hacked by Britain’s Mail on Sunday tabloid — the first time he has implicated a newspaper not owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in the wrongdoing. The actor said a 2007 story about his romantic life in the paper, owned by Murdoch rival Associated Newspapers Ltd., could only have been obtained through eavesdropping on his voice mails. He said he could not think of any other way the newspaper could have obtained the story alleging that his romance with Jemima Khan was on the rocks because of his conversations with a “plummy voiced” woman the paper identified as a film studio executive. Grant said there was no such woman, but he did receive voice messages from the assistant of a movie producer friend. “She would leave charming, joking messages ... and she had a voice that can only be described as plummy,” he said. Grant sued the newspaper for libel and won. Challenged about whether he had hard evidence, Grant acknowledged he was speculating. “But ... I’d love to hear what the Daily Mail or the Sunday Mail’s explanation of what that source was if it wasn’t phone hacking,” he said. Over two and a half hours of testimony, Grant — by turns charming and censorious — described years of tabloid pursuit that began after his breakthrough hit, “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” in 1994. Continue Reading

George Huguely’s lawyers want Yeardley Love’s medical records released in Virginia lax murder case

A doctor testified that Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love may have died from lack of oxygen - not blunt force trauma to the head inflicted by her former boyfriend, the Washington Post reported. Dr. Jack Daniel's testimony was part of a hearing on Wednesday for a motion by attorney's Love's ex, George Huguely V, who was charged with first-degree murder in the May 3 death. Lawyers for Huguely want to access Love's medical records from the UVA department of health and athletic department, which they argued are necessary for their own expert to review her cause of death, the newspaper reported. The judge ruled Love's records will remain sealed until he reviews them and decides which - if any - are relevant. "This is an important time to have available to us very important information," one of Huguely's attorneys reportedly argued. Witnesses testified that Love, who had a bottle of the prescription Adderall in her backpack, had a blood-alcohol content of .14 and .05 milligrams per liter of amphetamine in her body, the Post reported. Adderall, which Love reportedly had a prescription for, is most commonly prescribed for attention deficit disorder and contains amphetamine. The medical records would be a key part in the defense's argument that Huguely did not cause his ex's death. Daniel argued that Love suffered a cardiac arrhythmia after Huguely allegedly beat her on the night of her death. She eventually died from a lack of oxygen, the doctor said - not blunt force trauma as determined by the medical examiner. Daniel argued the injuries to her brain found by the medical examiner could be attributed to CPR that medical personnel and a bystander performed on Love when she was found in her bed on the night of her death.Shortly after Love's body was found, Huguely reportedly told investigators that he shook Love while her head struck a wall.His attorneys later argued that it was an accident.Numerous reports throughout Huguely's Continue Reading

MLB to review Oliver Perez’s medical records after New York Mets place lefty on 15-day DL

Major League Baseball will independently review Mets pitcher Oliver Perez's medical records, including the MRI Perez underwent Friday, a league official told the Daily News. The pitcher, who the team was hoping would accept a minor league assignment, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with patella tendinitis in his right knee Saturday. "This could be 100 percent legitimate," said the official, who noted that the league often takes that step when injuries are in need of clarification. "When there are questions, we look into it." Perez had season-ending surgery to repair a tendon in his right knee last Sept. 1, but has repeatedly said this season that he is healthy. "They hit me well, and, you know, that happens," he said after allowing seven runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Marlins on May 14. "I just have to keep it up and get work in, because I feel fine." Asked again on June 3 about his physical condition, Perez said, "I feel fine." But according to Jerry Manuel, the pitcher complained of knee pain Friday - the day before the Mets needed to clear a roster spot to activate starter Jon Niese from the disabled list. "He never felt any discomfort in his knee, other than when I came in yesterday," Manuel said. "I go through the training room - my normal rounds - I see him in there, ask what's wrong, he said 'my knee is bothering me.' I said, 'when did this start?' He said after the three innings that he had in San Diego (May 31). And that was that. According to the team, Perez saw Dr. Struan Coleman at the Hospital for Special Surgery Friday night, underwent an MRI and received his diagnosis. He was "expected" to depart for Florida Saturday to begin his rehabilitation. That May 14 loss cost Perez his rotation spot, and began the dispute over whether to send him to the minor leagues. Perez had exercised his collectively-bargained right to refuse the assignment, and sworn that he was healthy. Despite those claims, the 28-year-old lefthander has been Continue Reading

Feds obtain Roger Clemens’ medical records from New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays

Federal law-enforcement authorities prosecuting Roger Clemens for allegedly lying to Congress about steroid use have obtained medical records and other documents from the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. The feds requested the documents from the Yankees several times in the months before Clemens was indicted on perjury and other charges on Aug. 19, a source familiar with the investigation told the Daily News. The Yankees cooperated with the investigators, the source added. Toronto police working in conjunction with American authorities recently executed a search warrant at the Blue Jays' offices and seized medical records related to an abscess that appeared on Clemens' backside in 1998. Constable Isabelle Cotton, a public information officer for the Toronto Police Service, told The News Thursday that Justice Department officials sought and received assistance from the Toronto police in seizing what are believed to be medical records related to an abscess that appeared on Clemens' buttocks in 1998. "We were asked to assist and documents were provided," said Constable Isabelle Cotton, a spokeswoman for the Toronto Police Service. Cotton declined to give the date for the seizure, which was first reported on the website of the Canadian Broadcast Corp. Clemens suffered an infection on his buttocks in July of 1998 that his former trainer, Brian McNamee, has said was the result of a sloppy injection of the anabolic steroid Winstrol that McNamee had given Clemens that summer. The Blue Jays medical staff ordered an MRI of the injury and prescribed the antibiotic Cloxacillin for it. Clemens later testified before a congressional committee that the abscess was caused by injections of Vitamin B12 and the local anaesthetic lidocaine that he said were given to him regularly by team staff, including McNamee. The trainer then denied ever having injected B12 or having even heard of lidocaine before January of 2008. A Yankee spokesman declined comment, citing the gag Continue Reading

MLB commissioner’s office looking into Oliver Perez’s medical records after Mets place pitcher on DL

The commissioner's office is still receiving medical records from the Mets for its review of the team's decision to place ineffective pitcher Oliver Perez on the 15-day DL, a baseball official with knowledge of the investigation said. The review was first reported in Saturday's Daily News. Perez, who the team was hoping would accept an assignment to the minors to work out his copious pitching problems, was put on the DL with patella tendinitis in his right knee, which was revealed by an MRI exam Friday. In what could be viewed a bad sign for Perez, Elmer Dessens has moved into Perez's locker. Ruben Tejada, who was called up Friday, has moved into Dessens' locker. CATCH ME IF YOU CANHenry Blanco said his neck felt "much better," so Omir Santos was optioned to Double-A Binghamton after the game. Outfielder Jesus Feliciano, who turned 31 Sunday and is batting .385 at Triple-A Buffalo, is expected to be called up before Tuesday's game against San Diego. SECOND TIME AROUNDHisanori Takahashi's star - perhaps as quickly as it takes to get through one turn through an opposing lineup. Takahashi's second consecutive rough outing was rendered a footnote due to Sunday's 7-6 comeback win over Florida. The Japanese lefty dominated the Marlins through three hitless innings, but he coughed up five runs – including homers on 0-2 pitches by Dan Uggla and Cody Ross – before departing in the sixth. Is this becoming a trend for Takahashi? He's held opponents to a .198 average (22-for-111) while working the first time through a lineup. During subsequent at-bats, however, opponents have hit .369 (24-for-65) against him. "I need to make those adjustments, and if I don't make those adjustments, the results won't follow," Takahashi said. A PUNCHER'S CHANCE Angel Pagan enjoyed a productive day in the No. 2 hole, going 2-for-4, including a two-run single with two outs in the sixth to cut Florida's lead to 5-3. He also walked and scored the tiebreaking run on Ike Continue Reading

Judge grants Joe Jackson access to late son Michael Jackson’s medical records

LOS ANGELES -- Michael Jackson's father can receive some medical records related to his superstar son's death, a judge ruled Friday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled that Joe Jackson can receive his son's medical records from the hospital where he died. The judge will review the records first before releasing them to Joe Jackson's attorney, Brian Oxman. Beckloff also said the men can only receive records generated on or after June 25 - the day Michael Jackson died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Oxman sought the files as part of an effort to obtain a monthly stipend for the Jackson family patriarch. He said during a hearing last week that he also needs the records to decide whether to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Beckloff's order states a medical expert hired by Joe Jackson can review the files, but not copy them. Anyone who sees the records will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement, the ruling states.  Jackson's estate had sought to quash subpoenas that Oxman issued for the files. Attorneys for the estate argued during a hearing last week that Beckloff should review the files first. They also stated the files shouldn't be released until after the results of a May hearing on Joe Jackson's stipend bid. Oxman said he was pleased with the ruling and expects to have the records soon. Beckloff is going to verify the records do not violate doctor-patient confidentiality. Oxman said he didn't expect that to be an issue. "We are very certain based on prior records that we have from the paramedics that Michael was long deceased and that there were no communications (with doctors)," Oxman said. He said Joe Jackson deserves to know more about how his son died and the records will also be important in his quest to receive an allowance of more than $15,000 per month. Howard Weitzman, an attorney for Jackson's estate, said the ruling properly incorporates suggestions attorneys raised last week. "The estate Continue Reading

State, Gov. Paterson grants funds for electronic medical records

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson rolled out $105 million in grants Friday to help develop a unified system of electronic medical records for New Yorkers, saying the new system would reduce errors and duplicative testing. Paterson said the electronic system will improve care and avoid cases like when he fainted on a flight to Buffalo last year and kept having to explain to medical personnel at two hospitals that he was not diabetic. Paterson said more than half of New Yorkers have the same problem he does: scattered medical records. On a flight from New York City to Buffalo last July 24, someone said that the ailing Paterson was diabetic, it was written on a piece of paper, and that error followed him through Erie County Medical Center and that evening to Mount Sinai Hospital. He also was mistakenly given a lot of sugar on the plane, so his blood sugar level was high. "Finally, about 8 or 9 o'clock, I decided, don't fight it. I have diabetes," Paterson joked. He added, more seriously, "Any examination of my medical records would have shown that if I am actually David Paterson, I do not suffer from diabetes." Paterson said the projects should support patient privacy with security measures established around records. State Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines said the projects are part of a plan to overhaul health care in the state. The lack of such records causes medical errors, increases costs with diagnostic tests unnecessarily repeated and makes patients dissatisfied, he said. "We estimated 55% of the patients in the state will have some direct benefit," Daines said. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Staff suspended for leaking George Clooney medical records

Turns out A lot more people than George Clooney and his girlfriend were hurt by the Hollywood hunk's motorcycle accident last month.As many as 40 doctors and other employees at the Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, N.J., got suspensions for allegedly leaking confidential medical information about the couple in violation of federal law, according to broadcast and Internet reports.Told about the fallout firings, Clooney went to bat for the workers: "While I very much believe in a patient's right to privacy, I would hope that this could be settled without suspending medical workers," he told "Extra."PMC spokesman Eurice Rojas couldn't be reached for comment, but the hospital said in a statement it takes any violation of a law seriously and that it was investigating.Clooney broke a rib and got scraped up in the Sept. 21 crash in Weehawken, while his passenger, Sarah Larson, broke her foot when their motorcycle collided with a car on a narrow street.Those suspended were accused of passing Clooney's medical records on to the press.Seven members of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees Union were suspended without pay for four weeks, said spokeswoman Jeanne Oterson. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Cyber-attacker ‘bombs’ Memphis medical records, seeks ransom

Some Russian-speaking individual or entity somehow got the log-in and password for the Primary Care Specialists' computers on Feb. 27, when the cyber-attackers accessed the servers holding thousands of patient medical records.The access lasted less than five minutes, but that was long enough for the invaders to encrypt all the information in the two old data servers, essentially rendering many years' worth of records unreadable and unusable to the family-medicine practice at 3109 Walnut Grove, said Adam Berkenstock, information technology manager there.The still-anonymous criminals offered to give the medical office keys to make the encrypted information readable again, but in return for a ransom of thousands of dollars, Berkenstock said.They instructed that the money be converted and delivered as bitcoins, the digital currency that flows through no central authority. Primary Care Specialists refused to pay, Berkenstock said. The practice notified the federal Health & Human Services for an investigation.In the scripted, or automated ransom ransom message, the attackers did not make reference to the patients' private health information. But in the short time of access, "they got on and set off a 'bomb' that encrypted gigabytes of information,'' Berkenstock said.The affected information includes historical medical records dating before about 18 months ago, when the 25-year-old practice had switched over to a new data system. So, records involving new patients or patient visits over the past year-and-a-half are not affected.The practice will be able to work around the loss of the older records, Berkenstock said. "We can still request information about patients from other doctors, if that's what's needed,'' he said."And beyond that, the practice has changed a lot since (18 months ago). About two years ago, we serviced five or six nursing homes. We don't service those nursing homes Continue Reading