Yet executives conceded under oath it had developed a strategy to lock in major retail stores for long-term contracts with staggered expiration dates to make it harder for other companies to get a foothold in the field. In a November 2004 letter that became part of a court record a decade later, then-News America Executive Vice President Martin Garofalo pleaded with Jeffrey Noddle, the executive chairman of SuperValu, not to drop its agreements with News America. Garofalo promised a 400 percent annual increase in payments to keep the chain out of the embrace of a competitor. In April 2015, a News America executive named Christina Bedell acknowledged under oath that the company lost more than $4.2 million a year on its deal with Kmart placing ads in its stores.

Another executive, Dominic Hansa, testified that the company sought to extend a long-term contract with Safeway — a major grocery retailer — simply to avoid a competitive bidding process that could have allowed others to pitch for the contract. Bedell and Hansa are now senior vice presidents; Garofalo is now News America's CEO. Though News America disputed the claim, such payments were alleged to have been anti-competitive and illegal. The ensuing settlements would make the size of the Floorgraphics case pale in comparison: $500 million for a major competitor called Valassis; an additional $125 million for Insignia, based in Minnesota. The latest, $280 million, was incurred just a year ago to cut short a class-action lawsuit filed by News America's own clients, such as the soap manufacturer Dial and the ketchup giant H.J. Heinz. Executives at News Corp. and News America declined to respond to a series of specific LED Canopy Light questions for this story. Jim Kennedy, News Corp.'s chief communications officer, provided a single sentence in response: "These cases involve matters going back decades, were settled without any admission of wrongdoing and for a fraction of what was sought by claimants." London hacking revives interest The summer of 2011 resurrected the relevance of the Floorgraphics case, as its allegations echoed the mobile phone and computer hacking scandal in Murdoch's London tabloids. Celebrities, athletes, actors and politicians in the U.K. had been seen as fair game; the revelation that a dead girl's voicemail had been hacked by people on behalf of News Corp.'s Sunday tabloid News of the World turned what had been written off as sport into outrage. British politicians who had protected the Murdoch papers for years lined up to denounce them. The late David Carr, the New York Times media columnist, refocused attention on the Floorgraphics investigation in a .

In the U.S., Chris Christie was by this time no longer a prosecutor but a tough-talking governor who had emerged as a favorite figure on Fox News programs. O'Dowd, who led the abortive Floorgraphics inquiry, followed Christie to the governor's office and became his chief of staff. According to New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, then-Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes in the years leading up to the 2012 race. Sparked by the London hacking scandal, Lautenberg once more sought to turn attention on Christie's earlier failure to prosecute the News Corp. division.