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NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - News Corp and several top officials have won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit by shareholders who accused them of fraud for concealing illegal phone hacking at two of its British newspapers, according to a court decision made public on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan said the defendants could not be held liable for misleading investors based on statements that predated the start of the period for which shareholders sought to recoup their alleged losses.
Shareholders led by the Avon Pension Fund had alleged that statements by defendants like Rupert Murdoch and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks suggested that any phone hacking involving News Corp employees was isolated.
Gardephe gave the plaintiffs until April 30 to file an amended complaint. His decision is dated March 31. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)