Wendi Deng hired a new lawyer to represent her during divorce proceedings with News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, and that could mean bad news for the media mogul. The New York Times' Peter Lattman and Amy Chozick report the split "could take an acrimonious turn," now that the former Mrs. Murdoch has hired William D. Zabel, a powerful New York lawyer for the impossibly rich with a history of brokering messy divorces. Zabel represented Jane Welch, the former wife of General Electric CEO Jack Welch, in their adversarial divorce. Zabel has been called as one of the best lawyers in the business. He also reached a $7.2 billion settlement on behalf of victims of Bernie Madoff victims..
Deng's prior lawyer, Pamela Sloan, worked on the couple's pre-nup and two post-nuptial agreements. But in the intervening years, Sloan became close with the Murdoch family. Deng wanted "more independent counsel," a source told The Times.
Murdoch served his wife of 14 years with divorce papers in June, setting off a torrent of gossip and speculation about what could have prompted the split. There was no affair between Deng and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as was suggested in the wake of the divorce news. Murdoch was accused of infidelity by Gawker over the weekend, too. The couple was reportedly living separate lives for months before the papers were filed.