Charlotte Church claim against Murdoch untrue, says agent

Oct 25, 2012

She was never promised 'a good press' in exchange for waiving £100,000 singing fee, says Shalit

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A CLAIM by the singer Charlotte Church, made at the Leveson Inquiry nearly a year ago, that she waived a £100,000 fee to sing at Rupert Murdoch's wedding in exchange for a "favourable" press, is untrue, according to her former agent.

Jonathan Shalit has written to Lord Justice Leveson to says there was no such deal and that Church's "fundamentally inaccurate" account was damaging to the reputation of other parties.

As the Daily Mail reports, Shalit does not accuse the Welsh singer of deliberately misleading Leveson. But he does say her allegation was "simply not true and distorts the facts".

Charlotte Church, however, is sticking to her story. Her lawyers said last night: "For the avoidance of doubt, our client stands by the evidence she gave under oath at the Leveson Inquiry."

Church was 13 and already a child soprano star at the time of Murdoch's marriage to Wendi Deng, his third wife, in 1999. She is now 26.

She told Leveson she was originally offered £100,000 to sing at the New York wedding, a sum she and her mother did not want to turn down. However, "I was being advised by my management and certain members of the record company that he was a very, very powerful man and I could absolutely do with a favour of this magnitude."

According to Church's testimony, the promise of a good press never came good. "In fact, Mr Murdoch's newspapers have since been some of the worst offenders, so much so that I have sometimes felt that there has actually been a deliberate agenda."

Since appearing before Leveson, Church has become a patron of the Hacked Off group which is putting pressure on David Cameron to heed Leveson's recommendations on press regulation when he reports next month.

The Daily Mail points out that the relationship between Shalit and Church "ended acrimoniously more than a decade ago".

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