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New Phone Hacking Testimony Contradicts James Murdoch's

Former executives say Murdoch knew of damaging email

Photo: Warren Allott/AFP/Getty Images

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In testimony of their own on Tuesday, two former News of the World executives contradicted James Murdoch's assertions before Parliament that he had no knowledge of phone hacking beyond just "one rogue reporter."

Tom Crone, who had been legal manager for News of the World until he resigned July 15, and Colin Myler, a former editor of the tabloid, were testifying before the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee regarding information they relayed to Murdoch. Both Crone and Myler said they were "certain" they told Murdoch about the “For Neville” email—a 2005 document sent between News of the World journalists Ross Hindley and Neville Thurlbeck that included transcripts from hacked voicemail messages belonging to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association. The email indicates that phone hacking was more pervasive at the paper than just the act of one reporter.

Crone said the email was “the sole reason” a lawsuit brought by Taylor over the hacking had to be settled. News International paid Taylor $1.1 million in damages, as well as legal fees. The settlement arrangement included a confidentiality agreement prohibiting Taylor from speaking about his phone hacking case.

When Rupert and James Murdoch testified before the committee in July, both said they were not told of the email.

In additional documentation released by the committee on Tuesday, Les Hinton—former chief executive of News International—rejected an offer to expand upon his 2007 and 2009 parliamentary testimony about hacking. In a letter to the committee, Hinton said, “I answered all questions truthfully and to the best of my knowledge and recollection.” And in a separate letter, lawyers representing former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who went on to serve as a top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron, also turned down a similar offer from the committee to allow Coulson to make additional comments regarding his previous testimony.