French court delays ruling in Mosley sex case

PARIS Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:27am EDT

PARIS Oct 25 (Reuters) - A French court on Tuesday delayed a verdict in the case of ex-Formula One head Max Mosley, who sued British tabloid News of the World for breach of privacy in France for publishing photographs of him cavorting with five prostitutes in 2008.

Mosley, 71, had sued in France -- where the newspaper had been distributed and where privacy laws are strict -- after earlier winning damages in a British court from the News Corp-owned tabloid, which closed down earlier this year in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal earlier this year.

The front page article, accompanied by video footage, suggested that Mosley had organized what it dubbed a "sick Nazi orgy." Mosley has denied the party was Nazi-themed.

Also named as a defendant is the article's writer, Neville Thurlbeck, the News of the World's chief reporter who was arrested in the phone-hacking affair and later fired.

The court did not give a reason for the delay and said the verdict was now scheduled for Nov. 8.

The son of Sir Oswald Mosley, late leader of a British fascist party, Mosley served as president of Formula One's governing body until 2009.

Soon after the publication of the photographs and article, Mosley won 60,000 pounds ($95,700) in damages and 450,000 pounds ($718,000) in costs from a British court for breach of privacy.

Earlier this year, however, he lost a bid for the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to force newspapers to give advance warning to people before publishing lurid details about their private lives.

News Corp's newspaper group, News International, shut down the best-selling Sunday tabloid in July after allegations of phone hacking ballooned into a massive scandal engulfing not only Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper group, but Britain's political classes and police.

Mosley told Reuters in July that he would underwrite some lawsuits that victims of alleged intrusive reporting may bring against News International. ($1 = 0.627 British Pounds) (Reporting By Thierry Leveque; Writing by Alexandria Sage)

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