Today's a big day for Rupert Murdoch and his son James; they're scheduled to testify before a parliamentary committee about the phone hacking scandal engulfing their News Corp. empire. The two men will be joined in testifying by Rebekah Brooks, who resigned her post as chief executive of the News Corp. newspaper subsidiary News International last week, and was then arrested on Sunday.
Adweek will be bringing you live coverage of the testimony as it unfolds, beginning sometime around 9:30 a.m. EDT. Contributors to the live blog will include Alex Koppelman, news editor, and Stevan Keane, video director, who's been an editor at the Guardian, managing editor of Wired U.K., and commissioning editor at the U.K.'s Channel 4, along with other Adweek staff members.
2:23 p.m.: And with the end of Brooks's testimony, we're done live blogging for the day. Thanks for reading.
2:20 p.m.: Hearing wraps up with final words from Brooks, who says, "I know you've heard unreserved apologies from Rupert and James Murdoch, I just want to reiterate my own." She says the "most important thing for the investigation going forward is to discover the truth behind allegations" like that of the Milly Dowler hacking. And she asks that the committee invite her back to testify further when she's free from the legal constraints that she's under today. Committee Chair John Whittingdale seems quite interested in taking her up on that offer.
2:15 p.m.: Brooks denies reports that she's been horse riding with Prime Minister David Cameron, along with reports that she owns a horse with Cameron, or land with him. Also, says she did not recommend Andy Coulson to Cameron as his communications director. She does call Cameron a "neighbor" and "friend," though.
2:11 p.m.: Separate from the hearing, the Wall Street Journal's Jessica Vascellaro reports, on Twitter, "News Corp. independent directors have hired law firm Debevoise & Plimpton." (News Corp., of course, owns the Journal.) Read Adweek's look at those independent directors, and the possibility that they'll make a move against Rupert Murdoch, here.
2:10 p.m.: Brooks says she's never been to 10 Downing Street, the residence of the prime minister, during David Cameron's tenure. She did go during the tenure of two Labour prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, she says.
2:08 p.m.: Adweek's Dylan Byers reports on the history of alleged Murdoch attacker Jonathan May-Bowles, aka Jonnie Marbles.
2:03 p.m.: News from June Kelly, the BBC's Home Affairs correspondent: "A senior lawyer has told the Home Affairs Select Committee that material which News International handed over to the police last month contained evidence of serious criminal offences. After Scotland Yard received the file they launched Operation Elvedon—the investigation into alleged corrupt payments to police officers . . . The top QC, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven (the former director of public prosecutions), was employed by News Corporation to examine the material. He said that when he told the board what was in the file they were stunned and shocked."
2:02 p.m.: Adweek has a new poll question up: Did Rupert Murdoch help his cause during Tuesday's hearing? Vote here.
1:59 p.m.: In response to question about whether there are any headlines she regrets, Brooks goes in to long defense of press freedoms.
1:54 p.m.: Brooks just admitted to keeping a diary. Not something you want to admit in a situation like this—any good investigator will naturally want to take a close look at it.
1:51 p.m.: Someecards.com comes through with a timely and—typical for the site—funny e-card about Rupert Murdoch's testimony.
1:48 p.m.: Labour MP David Milliband, brother of party leader Ed Milliband, tweets, "I am in the US for two days. Hacking story big news. But just clicked on and see foam attack. Stupid, stupid, stupid ass."
1:42 p.m.: Under grilling by MP Paul Farrelly, who was close to getting Brooks to say Andy Coulson (who went on to be communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron) was in charge of the News of the World when she was on vacation, which could be when Milly Dowler's phone was hacked. But she danced away, claiming she didn't know who was running her paper in her absence, which seems hard to believe.
1:40 p.m.: Brooks says that after she was informed that her own phone had been hacked, she was "ring fenced" from the company's internal inquiry. But when she was promoted from editor of the Sun to chief executive of News International in 2009, that fence apparently came down; she says she became much more involved in the investigation then.
1:38 p.m.: Brooks refers to Glen Mulcaire's hacking of her own voicemail.
1:33 p.m.: Is there seriously no one in CNN's PR department who can tell Piers Morgan to zip it, if not just take away his computer? On Twitter just now, he called Brooks "a great, and loyal friend."
1:32 p.m.: MP Damian Collins tells Brooks it "seems incredible" that News of the World journalists would have passed on information to the police about what was on Milly Dowler's voicemail without first consulting their superiors.
Brooks is a bit tongue-tied in her response to that. But then she pulls herself back together, says she doesn't know of anyone who would think it was right to hack Dowler's voicemail.
1:29 p.m.: Sky News has this about former News of the World editor Colin Myler's reaction to the Murdochs' testimony:
"Myler has reacted to the suggestion by the Murdochs, during this hearing, that he was responsible for hiring the lawyers who investigated the extent of phone hacking at the paper in 2007.
"The lawyers, Harbottle and Lewis, were called in after the arrest and subsequent jailing of the paper's royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
"The lawyers concluded that no one else at the NOTW knew about phone hacking.
"Mr. Myler has said that contrary to what the committee were told, he had no part in commissioning, meeting with, or reviewing Harbottle and Lewis or their work, and contents of the emails were never shared with him.
"At the end of the inquiry, Mr. Myler was told by the Director of Human Resources Daniel Cloke: 'Good news, there is no smoking gun or silver bullet in the emails.'"
1:27 p.m.: Questioned about the hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemail, Brooks says she knew nothing about it until the Guardian reported on it recently. Asked when she knew that News of the World journalists had approached the police about what was in Dowler's voicemail, Brooks dodges. Asked again, she says she didn't know about it until the Guardian reported on the hacking.
1:24 p.m.: Statement from the Conservative party about Neil Wallis, who's referenced at 1:13 pm below: "We are currently finding out the exact nature of any advice. We can confirm that apart from Andy Coulson, neither David Cameron nor any senior member of the campaign team were aware of this until this week."
1:15 p.m.: Brooks says she's never paid a policeman for information, nor sanctioned a payment, had just been referring to a "widely held belief" that such bribes were being made when she referred to them in a 2003 statement she gave to members of Parliament. MP Louise Mensch tried to pin her down on this, asking why, if she was aware of this at other papers, she wouldn't be aware of it at her own, but Brooks got away from that pretty effectively.
1:13 p.m.: Separate from the hearing, but a big deal for British politics: The BBC is reporting that Neal Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor who was arrested in connection with hacking last week, provided informal advice to the Conservative party before the general election. Just one more connection to this scandal for Prime Minister David Cameron, who's got more than enough links to it as it is.
1:06 p.m.: Mensch back up. She brings up CNN's Piers Morgan again, and he's clearly upset about it. He tweets, "Ms. Mensch is completely and utterly wrong. She clearly hasn't read my book. Can someone please give her a copy?"
1:03 p.m.: Watson, finishing his interrogation of Brooks, asks her if she has any regrets. "Well, of course I have regrets," she responds. References hack of Milly Dowler's voicemail, calls it abhorrent, says she regrets speed of investigation, which she calls "too slow."
1:02 p.m.: Brooks says the News of the World's use of private investigators while she was editor was "purely legitimate."
1:00 p.m.: Watson not letting up on Brooks. He hit her hard on Glen Mulcaire, the private investigator at the center of the hacking scandal, now grilling her about another investigator, Jonathan Rees, refusing to accept her answer that she doesn't know what he did for the News of the World after he rejoined it sometime in 2005 or 2006.
12:54 p.m.: As Watson continues to press her on private investigators, Brooks keeps referring to other papers on Fleet Street using private investigators as a matter of course. She says the Guardian, the paper responsible for breaking the hacking scandal and keeping it in the news, was listed after one inquiry as one of the papers that used investigators most often. On Twitter, the Guardian's top editor, Alan Rusbridger, responds, "Rebekah Brooks says Guardian near top of list of IICO's list of papers using PIs. Actually not on list at all."
12:52 p.m.: MP Tom Watson keeps pressing Brooks about how much contact she had with private investigators while she was editing the News of the World. She keeps bobbing and weaving.
12:49 p.m.: Brooks has testified that Sienna Miller's lawsuit was the first direct evidence News International had of hacking besides the hacking perpetrated against the royals. But as NPR's David Folkenflik points out on Twitter, that's "Hard to square w big payoffs to football figures."
12:46 p.m.: Former News of the World editor Colin Myler, who was heading up the paper when the Murdochs shut it down, has put out a statement contradicting some of the Murdochs' testimony.
12:44 p.m.: We're back! Brooks is testifying now, begins her first answer with an apology, says she was "very keen" to appear today, but provides a hint that she may use her recent arrest as a shield to avoid answering some questions in full.
12:38 p.m.: Just to be clear, readers: Don't touch that dial. We're not done yet, will be blogging Rebekah Brooks' testimony as well. That should begin any minute.
12:34 p.m.: Murdoch's statement can be read in full on News Corp.'s website.
12:31 p.m.: Rupert Murdoch in closing statement: "I wish we had seen and solved these issues much earlier. I hope our contributions to Britain will one day be recognized."
Committee breaking five minutes before moving on, presumably to Rebekah Brooks.
12:27 p.m.: Given opportunity to make closing statement, Rupert Murdoch reading his opening statement, which he wasn't permitted to deliver before. You can read it below.
12:26 p.m.: MP Tom Watson, fiercest questioner of Murdoch today, says, "Mr. Murdoch, your wife has a very good left hook." (Adweek deputy editor Chip Bayers points out that Wendi Murdoch actually swung with her right hand.)
12:24 p.m.: CNN's Piers Morgan, who came up in the hearing a few minutes ago, tweets, "I've never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone." Adds in second tweet, "I wrote in my book that someone warned me phones could be hacked, so I changed my PIN number. That's it."
12:23 p.m.: Rupert Murdoch asked if he's ever considered resigning. "No," he responds, says people he trusted let him down, betrayed the company. "I think I'm the best person to clear this up."
12:19 p.m.: ABC News has a good picture of Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi defending her husband. She's the surprise celebrity of the day here, thanks to the pie attack.
12:16 p.m.: British pride on display here. Nothing to see here, ladies and gentlemen, move along, now, let's get back to work.
12:13 p.m.: Asked whether they're absolutely certain that there was no hacking of voicemails of 9/11 victims, Murdochs say they have no evidence of it occurring.
James Murdoch calls reports that 9/11 victims' phones were hacked, "Incredibly serious allegations," says,"I remember well as all of us do, the September 11th attacks . . . appalling to think that anyone associated with any of our papers would have done anything like that . . . That sort of activity would have no place, it would be absolutely appalling."
12:12 p.m.: Ooh, bad move by James Murdoch—asked when he became aware that the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a girl who was kidnapped and then murdered, was hacked by News of the World, he momentarily forgot her name as he answered.
12:11 p.m.: As we observed earlier, the pie attack is—assuming Rupert Murdoch is uninjured—an unqualified victory for the Murdochs and News Corp. Think anyone's going to be paying attention to the questions being asked, or the answers being given, now that the hearing has resumed?
12:10 p.m.: Spectators have been removed from the room.
12:09 p.m.: Hearing reconvening now. MP Louise Mensch says her questions will be just as tough as they would have been before the attack.
12:06 p.m.: Twitter has already identified someone as the alleged assailant. His name, on Twitter, is given as "Jonnie Marbles," and his bio reads, "Activist, comedian, father figure and all-round nonsense. Tweeting in an impersonal capacity." Roughly 15 minutes ago, he tweeted, "It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat."
12:02 p.m.: Not that people who launch these kinds of attacks are rational, but worth noting: This sort of thing, like the hacking of the Sun's website yesterday, absolutely helps the Murdochs and News Corp. portray themselves as being piled on by enemies who are just out for Murdoch blood, and not for justice.
12:01 p.m.: Definitely looks like this was a shaving cream pie attack.
11:59 a.m.: Gotta love this—the assailant, who's been arrested, could just be seen on the BBC feed standing, in cuffs, with a policeman outside the hearing room. The policeman was taking a photo of the assailant with what appeared to be a camera phone, and then showing it to him.
11:58 a.m.: Reuters' foam report seems accurate—BBC feed is back, and it shows a man who's presumably the assailant outside the hearing room, and he has some sort of white foam on his face.
11:56 a.m.: Assailant reportedly punched Rupert Murdoch in the face before being hit by Wendi Murdoch. Reuters, on the other hand, says the man threw a plate with some kind of foam on it—a pie?—at Murdoch.
11:54 a.m.: Woah. A spectator apparently just attacked Rupert Murdoch. Before the BBC cut away, Rupert's wife Wendi could be seen smacking her husband's assailant. The hearing is currently suspended.
11:52 a.m.: CNN's Piers Morgan, a former News of the World editor who's been tied to hacking himself, tweets, "Strong finish by Rupert. Love him or hate him, does anyone genuinely think he's a crook or condoned crime? Because I don't."
11:49 a.m.: Of his relationship with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with whom he used to be close, Rupert Murdoch says he's very sorry it came apart, and hopes it can be mended. Brown has accused News Corp. journalists of hacking his voicemail and records.
11:45 a.m.: New member of Parliament, Damian Collins, begins questioning the Murdochs. Clearly sympathetic to the Murdochs, asks them a question about whether in today's open society public figures can expect total privacy. In response, Rupert Murdoch essentially equates a clean and open society with paying that society's politicians upwards of 1 million pounds per year to prevent corruption.
11:41 a.m.: James Murdoch had dear old MP Alan Keen in a bit of a spin. He fell back on the Rumsfeld playbook: “To my knowledge there were certain things that were not known . . . All the facts were not known.” Someone should take Keen outside for a nap. He makes Rupert look young.
11:39 a.m.: On Twitter, responding to the discussion of direct responsibility referenced below, Sky News political editor Adam Boulton asks, "Did the Murdochs just finger [Les] Hinton and [former News of the World editor Colin] Myler for a possible cover-up?" Sky News producer Tim Gatt responds, "Sounded like it."
Worth nothing that Sky, which has been dogged in covering this story lately, is owned by News Corp.
11:37 a.m.: Rupert Murdoch asked whether it's possible that News of the World editors couldn't have known about hacking; avoids the question. Returns to argument that News of the World was such a small part of his business that he couldn't know anything about it—this, of course, goes completely against the typical picture of Murdoch as a very hands-on boss, especially when it comes to his newspapers. Both Murdochs are trying to draw a distinction between the idea of them being kept in the dark and the idea of them simply delegating authority to the managers who were directly responsible.
11:30 a.m.: MP Paul Farrelly: "Mr. Murdoch, you either haven't grasped the point, or you're not reading your own newspapers."
11:27 a.m.: The New York Times' David Carr tweets, "To my eye, James Murdoch has done a good job while not saying very much. His manner is confident, even as he demurs."
He's right about that. Still, this performance may not save James Murdoch's job—he already was the logical choice as next to fall, and after today he's the worldwide face of this scandal.
11:26 a.m.: News Corp. stock continues to rise; it's now up almost 5 percent.
11:24 a.m.: After MP Tom Watson grilled the Murdochs, there was a notable drop in the quality of questioning by the committee members. But MP Paul Farrelly—who, like Watson, has been a tough critic of News Corp.—has Rupert and James back on their heels again.
11:14 a.m.: Murdochs now pushing hard on that nifty "ongoing investigation" trick. "I believe we really have to allow the police to conduct their investigation," James Murdoch says. His father adds, "I think if we were to comment on anything now, it will result in guilty people, uh . . . " They succeed, for now, with this line—MP questioning them backs off.
11:12 a.m.: James Murdoch falls back on the favorite dodge of every White House: There's an ongoing investigation, and we're not going to comment, because we're so very concerned about possibly interfering with that investigation.
Never all that convincing.
11:10 a.m.: The New York Times' Don Van Natta Jr. tweets, "Mulcaire has been silent for 4 1/2 years. He is a defendant in 37 claims with more to come. Of course News Int is paying his legal fees."
11:06 a.m.: James Murdoch admits that News International was paying legal fees for Glen Mulcaire, the private investigator who did at least some of the hacking. He and Rupert say they dont' know if that's still happening. Asked if he'd order any payment of Mulcaire's legal fees to be stopped, Rupert Murdoch says, "Provided that is not in breach of any contract, yes."
11:03 a.m.: Rupert Murdoch says the only reason Les Hinton left is because he felt he had to. It was a feeling. And Rupert looks properly sad. Like Saturn eating his children.
10:59 a.m.: Rupert Murdoch says Les Hinton and Rebekah Brooks asked to leave, and were not asked to leave. Asked why he finally decided to accept Brooks' resignation after he'd previously turned it down, he says she was in a "state of extreme anguish."
MP Philip Davies then gets tough, asking, "How much have all of these characters have been paid off?" Then he softens a bit, rephrasing, "How much have they been given in a financial settlement?" Murdoch says those are confidential, but says Hinton's settlement would have been substantial given his many years with the company.
"Is there any confidentiality in their payoff? Any clauses like that in there?" Davies asks.
"Mr. Davies, the settlement or compromise agreement when somebody resigns or leaves the business, there are some commercial confidentiality agreements," James Murdoch says, but he also says there's nothing in those clauses that would stop anyone from cooperating with investigations.
10:56 a.m.: James Murdoch says he was "very surprised" to find that News Corp. subsidiary continued to pay money to Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman after they were convicted on charges relating to hacking. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger asks, on Twitter, "Does James M not know NI still said to be paying Glenn Mulcaire?"
10:53 a.m.: Via the Guardian, part of the opening statement Rupert Murdoch wanted to make:
“My son and I have come here with great respect for all of you, for Parliament and for the people of Britain whom you represent.
“This is the most humble day of my career . . .
“My company has 52,000 employees. I have led it for 57 years and I have made my share of mistakes. I have lived in many countries, employed thousands of honest and hardworking journalists, owned nearly 200 newspapers and followed countless stories about people and families around the world.
“At no time do I remember being as sickened as when I heard what the Dowler family had to endure—nor do I recall being as angry as when I was told that the News of the World could have compounded their distress. I want to thank the Dowlers for graciously giving me the opportunity to apologise in person.
"I would like all the victims of phone hacking to know how completely and deeply sorry I am. Apologising cannot take back what has happened. Still, I want them to know the depth of my regret for the horrible invasions into their lives
“I wish we had managed to see and fully solve these problems earlier. When two men were sent to prison in 2007, I thought this matter had been settled. The police ended their investigations and I was told that News International conducted an internal review. I am confident that when James later rejoined News Corporation he thought the case was closed too. These are subjects you will no doubt wish to explore today.”
10:50 a.m.: Zeke Turner of Women's Wear Daily does the math: "if rupert works 12 hours a day, 5 days wk, with 10 days vacation for $22 million per year . . . he makes ~$7,333 /hr"
10:47 a.m.: A bit of important, or at least interesting, testimony from Rupert Murdoch just now. Says, "I work a 10-12 hour day and have to handle a multiple of issues. Perhaps I lost sight of the News of the World." Says that the editor he spends the most time with now is the editor of The Wall Street Journal.
10:46 a.m.: Now questioning the Murdochs, MP Philip Davies, the member for Shipley, a professional Northern Tory. Like any self-made Yorkshireman he’s incapable of believing anyone who owned a business would not know precisely how every penny was spent.
Murdoch: "I'm not really in touch."
10:42 a.m.: That little bit of testiness below from James Murdoch came as a result of Sanders asking him about a term coined during the Enron scandal, "willful blindness." Basically, as Sanders explains it, if executives are willfully blind to malfeasance, they become culpable. James Murdoch didn't really know what Sanders was talking about, or said he didn't; Rupert, though, interjected to say he is familiar with the term, and that they were not guilty of it.
10:41 a.m.: James Murdoch, to MP Adrian Sanders: "Mr. Sanders, do you have a question? Respectfully." Ouch.
10:39 a.m.: James Murdoch seems to be losing his cool a little now. He pulled it back, but his voice betrayed a bit of anger just now, as he used the word "respectfully," which, in a situation like this, means, "without any respect at all."
10:36 a.m.: Behind the by now familiar, and entirely appropriate, demeanor of a techno villain in a straight-to-DVD thriller, James Murdoch has the eloquent capacity for obfuscation and misdirection of a seasoned Whitehall mandarin.
10:33 a.m.: Most observers think this hasn't been going especially well for the Murdochs, but Wall Street might have a different opinion: News Corp.'s stock is up. Of course, it could be up on the possibility that this is the beginning of the end of Rupert Murdoch's time as CEO.
10:31 a.m.: James Murdoch says there's been no decision yet on whether to replace News of the World with a new Sunday tabloid. As Adweek editorial director Michael Wolff observes, this is not exactly a denial.
10:30 a.m.: Murdoch senior rather politely pushed back on the suggestion that newspaper headlines should be tailored in case they cause offense. James relishing playing the good guy on this matter, especially since it seems something of a diversion that only works for them.
10:26 a.m.: Tweet from singer George Michael, who's been very outspoken about hacking: "It must be great to be so close to your own father that he can use u as a human shield. Dad of the year . . . "
10:23 a.m.: MP Therese Coffey doing a good job of pressing James Murdoch on money paid out by News Corp., possibly to bribe police sources. She's asking about the mechanism behind payment, even the possible methods of payment—travelers checks, vouchers, etc.
10:19 a.m.: On Twitter, Wired's Steve Silberman quips, "Rupert using classic Mafia defense: looking frail, doddering, out of the loop, bathrobe-worthy, 'What? Who is that?'"
10:17 a.m.: Rupert Murdoch asked who made the decision to close News of the World. He responds, "It was the result of a discussion between my son and I and senior executives," says Rebekah Brooks called the News Corp. board to seek their agreement.
10:13 a.m.: Rupert Murdoch says, "I do not accept ultimate responsibility. I hold responsible the people that I trusted to run it and the people they trusted."
10:10 a.m.: Adweek deputy editor Chip Bayers observes, "Joel Klein looks mortified."
10:08 a.m.: Rupert Murdoch is asked about the allegation of most interest, so far, to people here in the U.S., the report that voicemails of 9/11 victims may have been hacked. Murdoch responds, "We have seen no evidence of that at all, and as far as we know the FBI hasn’t either . . . I cannot believe it happened with anyone in America."
10:06 a.m.: MP Tom Watson, who devastated Rupert Murdoch with his carefully contrived softly, softly approach, somewhat compromised that strategy with his withering “Thank you” to James’s last interjection.
10:04 a.m.: Of the decision to close News of the World, Rupert Murdoch says, "We had broken our trust with readers."
9:58 a.m.: Fox News, which has come under fire for its coverage of the scandal overtaking its parent company, is, to its credit, covering this testimony. But, as Time's James Poniewozik observes, that doesn't mean the network isn't making an effort to make its boss look good. He noted a Chyron running below the hearing that read, "RUPERT MURDOCH: I EMPLOY OVER 53K PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD."
9:54 a.m.: This is a very bad performance by Rupert Murdoch so far—he looks old, perhaps a little doddering. He's having trouble hearing. And, under withering questioning by MP Tom Watson, he keeps trying to shift questions off to his son. On Twitter, Adweek editorial director Michael Wolff says, "He's going to die right here."
9:52 a.m.: On Twitter, Ari Melber observes, "For a guy in the news business, Murdoch sure is hearing about a lot of things for the first time today."
9:50 a.m.: Rupert Murdoch, in his first long answer to the committee, seems to be flustered and a bit angry already. At one point in his answer, his wife Wendi reached forward as if to comfort him—or perhaps to stop him banging on the witness table.
9:46 a.m.: It's interesting to observe the differences between the way Parliament operates and the way the U.S. Congress would handle this same hearing. It does seem like members of Parliament are doing less grandstanding, at least for now, than members of Congress would. That said, though, members of Parliament seem to have the same bad habit as members of Congress: They ask questions that are more about looking good for the cameras than about getting real information from the witnesses.
9:43 a.m.: On scene with the Murdochs: Joel Klein, former head of New York City's public schools, who's now a News Corp. executive and is responsible for heading up the company's own internal investigation of the hacking, and Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi.
9:39 a.m.: In response to the first question posed to him, James Murdoch gets in a bit of an opening statement anyway: "Would like to say just how sorry I am and how sorry we are . . . it's a matter of great regret; mine, my father's, and everyone at News Corporation. These actions do not live up to the standards that everyone at the company aspires to."
Then his father interrupts to say, "This is the most humble day of my life."
9:35 a.m.: Here we go. The Murdochs have arrived, and James Murdoch has asked to make an opening statement—the request was, it seems, denied. Then members of the public who were disrupting the hearing were escorted out.