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Cameron ‘Failed His Own Test’

Cameron ‘Failed His Own Test’ PA Photos / Landov

Says Dowler lawyer after PM rejects Leveson.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticized after he rejected one of the prinicipal findings of the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday: the need for the creation of an independent watchdog group. Saying this statute could "infringe free speech and free press," Cameron said careful consideration has to be given to regulate the press. But many of the victims of phone hacking were angry with Cameron's response, with actor Hugh Grant tweeting that it was a "betrayal" and a lawyer for Milly Dowler's family saying the prime minister "failed his own test." Cameron himself had appointed Lord Justice Brian Leveson to investigate the relationship between politicians and the media, causing many to be puzzled by his rejection. Cameron, however, insists that he does not want to keep the status quo, but creating a new law could infringe on freedom of the press.

Read it at BBC News

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Murdoch Phone Hacking Trial Begins

Rupert Murdoch’s most trusted news executives, including Rebekah Brooks, appeared in court today for the start of a criminal trial into the phone hacking allegations that shuttered the News of the World.

An inner circle of Rupert Murdoch’s most trusted news executives appeared in a London court today for the start of what British commentators are describing as the “Trial of the Century”.


Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks leaves the Old Bailey courthouse in London on Monday. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

The criminal prosecution, which could last more than 3 months, is expected to include a host of explosive allegations about phone-hacking and the working practices employed within Murdoch’s media empire. All eight defendants have denied the charges.

Rebekah Brooks, one of Murdoch’s most trusted confidantes, is the highest profile defendant in the dock. Her close personal relationship with the British prime minister, David Cameron, is also expected to cause embarrassment at No. 10 Downing Street. Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, has become deeply entangled in the debate surrounding News Corp. He has admitted riding Brooks’ horse and attending regular social gatherings with the former editor of the Sun newspaper and CEO of Murdoch’s dominant Fleet Street subsidiary, News International. Cameron also employed Andy Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World, as his director of communications. Coulson is among the defendants, and denies all charges.

The prime minister has come under intense pressure from the media in Britain to fully describe the nature of his relationship with Murdoch and his most senior acolytes at the News International newspapers, which were openly supportive of his election campaign.

This is the first major criminal trial held in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Murdoch’s global media organization. Staff were accused of illegally accessing the voicemails of celebrities, politicians and members of the royal family. In July 2011 it was claimed that the News of the World had hacked the voicemails of Milly Dowler, a missing 13-year-old who was later found to have been murdered. After 168 years in print, the world’s best-selling English language newspaper was closed.

As part of the subsequent investigations over a hundred journalists and their sources have been arrested, and at least two more trials are expected to follow next year.

Reporters, photographers and camera crews from all over the world thronged outside the Old Bailey this morning to catch a glimpse of the accused as they arrived in court. On the morning of one of the biggest storms in a generation, with hurricane force gusts of wind, Brooks swept into court in a buttoned up beige coat accompanied by her husband Charlie Brooks, a racehorse trainer, who was wearing a blue suit. He is also on trial for perverting the course of justice, which he denies.


Murdoch Admits ‘Mistake’

In a jaw-dropping leaked tape, Rupert Murdoch confesses that he closed his News of the World tabloid in a ‘panic’ as phone-hacking accusations hit—and called the move a ‘mistake.’ Peter Jukes reports.

Two years to the day after news broke that his bestselling tabloid, News of the World, had hacked the cellphone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, Rupert Murdoch himself has been caught on tape making a series of explosive statements about his company’s cooperation with the police and his attitude toward the last two years of the hacking scandal.


Rupert Murdoch, no stranger to controversy. (Noah Berger/AP)

Murdoch was recorded this March in London during a meeting to reassure 20 or so of his senior staff, many of them among the 100 or so journalists and informants already arrested over allegations of illegal payments to police. According to Exaro News, which exclusively published the transcript and redacted recordings Wednesday, more than one of the journalists was covertly recording the conversation.

Two years ago, called to appear in Parliament over the mounting hacking scandal that shuttered News of the World, Murdoch appeared apologetic and said it was “the most humble day of my life.”

To his staff at The Sun three months ago, he said they’d been “picked on” by a mixture of the “old right-wing establishment” and, “even worse, the left-wing get-even crowd.” He claimed the police were both “incompetent” and “out of control.” When told by Sun deputy editor Geoff Webster that “it would be nice to hit back,” Murdoch replied: “We will, we will.”

Two years ago in Parliament, Murdoch testified that paying police for stories was “wrong.” To his staff in March, he said, “It was the culture of Fleet Street.” Challenged by a Sun journalist who had arrived at the paper only 10 years previously and had been told to make payments to police, Murdoch conceded that this was an “inherited” practice for more than 40 years since he took over the paper. “We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops,” he said. “That’s been going on 100 years, absolutely.”

Two years ago one of Britain’s most senior law officers, the former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald, who was heavily criticized for failing to investigate the scale of phone hacking during the initial inquiries in 2005 and 2006, was called to Parliament to testify about how he was hired by Murdoch after retiring from government to review internal emails. When he explained to them the evident level of corruption, Macdonald said the News Corp. board was “shocked” and “stunned.”

But in March this year, Murdoch claimed that Lord Macdonald knew bribery was endemic. “Now there was a law passed against this in 1906,” Murdoch told his staff. “That’s when it was first recognized as a problem. The previous chief of public prosecution ... [Lord] Macdonald ... said he knew that on Fleet Street there were payments made, and he decided not to go after it because it was all too petty—and too complicated.”

Phone Hacking

Cameron on the Rocks

Look what you’ve done, Rupert! The final report on phone hacking has opened a deep rift in Prime Minister David Cameron’s fragile coalition. Can he keep it together? By Peter Jukes.

It’s finally arrived.

Four chunky volumes, light blue covers, and running up to 2,000 pages—longer than War and Peacethe Leveson Inquiry report landed with a loud thud on the desk of Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday. A day later, at the Queen Elizabeth II conference center over the road from Westminster, journalists waited nervously for the tome to be made public, like errant school kids waiting for a dressing down from a stern headmaster.

The “feral” British press, renowned for its raucous and competitive nature, was indeed given a stern smack on the wrist for its culture, ethics, and practices in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire. Lord Justice Leveson excoriated Fleet Street for “a recklessness in prioritizing sensational stories,” of “wreaking havoc with people’s lives,” of targeting the children and families of celebrities whose “important personal moments are destroyed." He went on condemn “a willingness to deploy covert surveillance … and deception.”

David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Nov. 23, 2012. (Michel Euler / AP Photo)

For News Corp., with dozens of its journalists arrested, senior executives from its News International subsidiary facing trial next year, and an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of bribing foreign officials, the report was a mixed blessing. Not surprisingly, Leveson has withering words about the practices of what had been Murdoch's bestselling English-language Sunday tabloid. “Most responsible corporate entities would be appalled that employees were or could be involved in the commission of crime in order to further their business,” Leveson wrote. “Not so at the News of the World.” Hidden in the bowels of the rest of the report are also damning judgments of the corporate governance of the parent company. In a typically understated putdown, Leveson says of James Murdoch’s testimony, “There are aspects of the account of Mr. Murdoch that cause me some concern.” And in a direct swipe at Rupert himself for not reading a critical ruling over a privacy and libel case, Leveson writes: “It says something about the degree to which his organization engages with the ethical directions of its newspapers.”

The report's central thrust, however, is that the Press Complaints Commission, or PCC, Britain’s voluntary regulatory body for newspapers and magazines, is “not fit for purpose” in helping those who have had their lives destroyed by such intrusion.

After yearlong public inquiry, nearly 400 verbal testimonies, and 300 written submissions, none of this was particularly controversial or new. Leveson was already expected to make recommendations for a replacement for PCC. He did, in some lawyerly detail, suggesting the body should be “constituted in law” but not a statutory regulator. For a few moments on Twitter, everyone thought they’d won: there would still be self-regulation, but it would have a compulsory element. But before the practical consequences could sink in, Lord Justice Leveson concluded: “The ball moves back into the politicians’ court—they must decide who guards the guardians.” He then walked off the stage, without answering questions, for a trip to Australia, leaving a bombshell for Parliament to defuse.

A year ago, when setting up the Leveson Inquiry, David Cameron said he would implement the recommendations of its final report if they weren’t “bonkers.” Yet in a statement before Parliament soon after Leveson’s press conference, the prime minister repudiated this central recommendation that an independent regulator should have legal backing.

Phone Hacking

David Cameron’s Downfall?

The Leveson Report on phone hacking, set to be published on Thursday, could cause a fatal rift in Prime Minister David Cameron’s governing coalition.

It’s been a long-running nightmare for Prime Minister David Cameron. When the phone-hacking scandal broke in the summer of 2011, Cameron is reported to have told his closest aides, “don’t let me launch a public inquiry.” But with public outrage mounting at the number of victims and an alleged cover-up, and then the intense combined pressure from his Liberal Democrat partner, Nick Clegg, and the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, Cameron was forced to announce a wide-ranging, judge-led examination of the relationship between the press, the public, police, and politicians. Suddenly the ties between Britain’s political class and its powerful media moguls came under a searching spotlight.

As Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s inquiry rolled on for eight months, calling more than 600 witnesses under oath, and providing compelling viewing for political junkies and interested members of the public, that spotlight began to burn dangerously close to the prime minister. The inquiry increasingly focused on the connections between the suppression of phone hacking and the biggest merger in British media history—News Corp.’s $15 billion bid for the country’s most lucrative broadcaster, BSkyB. Forced to hand over details of meetings, texts and emails, senior ministers and their advisers appeared to be deeply involved in James Murdoch’s plan to create a Wapping 2: a digital hub combining Fleet Street’s dominant paper group News International, with broadcast and Internet assets. This was damaging to the conservatives. Approval of the merger could so easily be read as a quid pro quo for the support News International’s newspapers in the run up to the 2010 election.

More embarrassing still for the prime minister was the revelation of his close relationship with News International’s disgraced chief executive, Rebekah Brooks; how Cameron went riding on an old police horse loaned to Brooks by the Metropolitan Police; how he sent her text messages signed LOL, thinking that meant ‘lots of love’ instead of ‘laugh out loud’. More intimate texts have leaked out in recent weeks, with Brooks avowing how she cried twice at Cameron’s 2009 conference speech and “Will love working together.’” Given that Cameron’s hand-chosen top press spokesman, Andy Coulson, was Brooks’s close friend and former deputy, the cozy net seemed tighter still. Brooks and Coulson face trials for multiple charges of phone hacking and illegal payments to public officials next year, with additional charges of cover-up and perjury thrown in. The questioning of the prime minister’s judgement over his close confidantes and aides won’t go away. 

Cameron’s immediate problem is political. When the Leveson report is published on Thursday, it is expected to contain various proposals to curb the excesses of Fleet Street, and that will require Cameron to act rather than just react. In the last few weeks, an almighty fight around freedom of the press and an independent regulatory body has dominated the airwaves and op-eds. On Tuesday, a poll found that nearly 80 percent of respondents said they supported the creation of an independent body to regulate the press. Roughly 60 percent said Cameron should put the recommendations in Leveson’s report in place, and more than 80 percent said the new system should be legally binding.

David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Nov. 23, 2012. (Michel Euler / AP Photo)

This public support leaves Cameron in a bad place; he’s damned if he doesn’t enact Leveson’s proposals, damned if he does. The prime minister faces some of the loudest and most influential editors in Fleet Street, especially at The Daily Mail and The Sun, calling any kind of statutory backstop to a new press regulator the end of nearly 400 years of press freedom and the beginnings of state control. These editors have been joined by three senior Tories—the former leader and current foreign secretary, William Hague, the education secretary Michael Gove, and Cameron’s biggest rival and possible replacement, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

All three, it should be noted, have been highly paid newspaper columnists, but together they constitute some of the most powerful conservatives of their generation. Their preemptive dissent from the report that their own government commissioned—sometimes involving a direct mocking of Leveson himself—shows a serious rift in senior Tory ranks. Further evidence came on Tuesday when 86 members of Parliament called on the government to oppose such regulation, in a letter to the Guardian.

Perversely, the whole hacking scandal has had a reverse effect on the main opposition Labour Party, which historically reverts to internecine warfare after an election defeat. Until The Guardian revealed in July of 2011 that the phone of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler was hacked by News of the World, the current leader, Ed Miliband, was in deep trouble. Resented by the majority of his fellow party members in Parliament, who had voted for his elder brother, David, in the leadership election the year prior, Miliband had been unsteady in parliamentary questions, and deemed an untelegenic policy wonk. Rumors that he would not survive the summer were rife. Though both Miliband’s predecessors, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, had become personal friends with Rupert Murdoch, Miliband went against advice and made phone hacking a cause célèbre, risking the wrath of News International, which commands 43 percent of the national newspaper readership, by demanding the resignation of Brooks, the company’s chief executive. Since then, Miliband has grown in confidence and stature, and the Labour Party has continued to rise in the opinion polls. He is now secure in his leadership of the party—at least till the next election.

Plot Thickens

Did News Corp. Pay Off U.S. Troops?

Dozens of employees have already been arrested for allegedly paying off British officials—and sources now tell Peter Jukes that U.S. agents may also be implicated, as questions arise over how they scored controversial photos of Saddam Hussein.

While the scandal that shuttered Britain’s bestselling tabloid, News of the World, has gone quiet ahead of next year’s phone-hacking trials, Britain’s parallel investigation into what has been described as a “culture of illegal payments” to public officials at sister daily, The Sun, has shifted into high gear. And this week Scotland Yard handed over several new files from its investigations into the alleged bribery to public prosecutors in the U.K., for a decision over whether to press formal charges against some of the 54 individuals arrested so far in the controversy.


The May 20th, 2005 cover of The New York Post shows Saddam Hussein in his underwear. (Daniel Acker / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

The allegations that News Corp., which owns The Sun, made illegal payments to British defense personnel, police officers, and health workers in exchange for confidential information sparked widespread public outcry, which triggered investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Securities and Exchange Commission in the summer of 2011. Under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, American-owned companies who suborn foreign officials can incur large fines and possible prison sentences for senior executives. These investigations typically take two years to complete.

But The Daily Beast has learned that The Sun may have made another potentially corrupt payment, to a U.S. official on American soil.

On Friday, May 20, 2005, two Murdoch-owned tabloids, The Sun and The New York Post, ran front-page pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underwear, and inside the papers, more photos of the former Iraqi leader in U.S. captivity. According to Fox News, the Multinational Forces spokeswoman in Baghdad said the images could have been taken between January and April 2004, “based on the background of the photos and appearance of him.” Given the context of the Abu Ghraib revelations and ongoing, violent insurgency in Iraq at the time, multiple sources reported that President George W. Bush was upset about the leak. “There will be a thorough investigation into this instance,” deputy White House spokesman Trent Duffy told The New York Times, “[The president] wants to get to the bottom of it immediately.”

No investigation has ever found the source of the leaked pictures, but buried in the contemporary reports is a glaring admission. The Sun’s then-managing editor, Graham Dudman, told the Associated Press that his newspaper paid “a small sum” for the photos. Dudman would not elaborate “except to say it was more than 500 British pounds, which is about $900.”

Sources close to the story have told The Daily Beast that the payment was significantly greater, and was made to a U.S. official on American soil. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard detectives arrested Dudman in January of this year on suspicion of making corrupt payments involving British officials. He has yet to be charged with any criminal offense in the U.K.

(Incidentally, in 2005, Dudman said in a statement, “The Sun obtained [the Hussein] pictures by professional journalistic methods, and by any standards this is an extraordinary scoop as shown by the way it has been followed in the world’s media.”)


Sources: Brooks Got $11M Severance

Sources: Brooks Got $11M Severance Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo

Former Murdoch chief executive resigned before being arrested.

Looks like hacking was pretty lucrative for Rebekah Brooks. The onetime trusted deputy of Rupert Murdoch reportedly received an $11.3 million severance package when she resigned in disgrace last year, sources familiar to her agreement said Tuesday. The former chief executive of News International, the British wing of Murdoch’s News Corp., Brooks resigned last year amid questions about her alleged involvement with hacking at the tabloid News of the World, which Murdoch shut down shortly before Brooks quit. A former News of the World employee reportedly leaked the details of Brooks’s severance package, saying his former co-workers are “as angry as the general public” over the scandal. Brooks faces trial next year over criminal charges in relation to the scandal.

Read it at The New York Times


Cameron Urged to Release Brooks’s Emails

Cameron Urged to Release Brooks’s Emails Ben Stansall, AFP / Getty Images

Private exchanges with Coulson, too.

The opposition Labour Party on Tuesday urged British Prime Minister David Cameron to release “every single communication” with his former communications director Andy Coulson and former News International executive Rebekah Brooks. Private email exchanges between Cameron and Brooks, a close personal friend, and Coulson, the former editor of the now-defunct News International tabloid News of the World, had been exempt from being released to the Leveson Inquiry, the parliamentary committee that was set up to investigate hacking at News of the World and other News International outfits. Sources said the private email exchanges are “embarrassing,” although Downing Street insisted the messages are “not relevant.”

Read it at Telegraph

Shareholder Summit

Is Murdoch Doomed?

The embattled mogul could be voted out Tuesday at News Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting in Los Angeles, and his attempts to stifle rebellion appear ruined by more bad news. Peter Jukes on the damning new reports.

After a weekend during which Rupert Murdoch seemed to push back against the phone-hacking scandal that closed his oldest paper, News of the World, and scuppered his biggest-ever media bid for BSkyB, two new revelations on Monday seem to embroil the embattled media mogul further.

Lord Justice Brian Leveson is due to make his report to the prime minister on press ethics in a month’s time, and there has been a vociferous campaign in the U.K. press to question his findings in advance, especially if they put regulation of the press under any statutory obligation.

Rupert Murdoch

Josh Reynolds / AP Photo

On Saturday, Murdoch joined in the fierce debate, tweeting that the members of the Hacked Off campaign, representing phone-hacking victims, who had lobbied Prime Minister David Cameron during the Conservative Party conference, were “scumbag celebrities.”

The actor Hugh Grant is one of the more vocal campaigners for Hacked Off, and he was at the meeting with the prime minister. But so too was a former police officer, Jaqui Hames, and the singer Charlotte Church. Hacked Off also has the support of the family of Milly Dowler, the 13-year-old murder victim whose phone was hacked by News of the World. Both Hames and Church took to Twitter to remonstrate with the media mogul, demanding an apology. The American actor Alec Baldwin replied, in response to a request for comment from The Daily Beast, that the statement raised questions about Murdoch’s “fitness to run an international media company.”

Baldwin’s comment was particularly barbed, as the annual general meeting of News Corp. shareholders takes place on Tuesday in Los Angeles. A parliamentary report into phone hacking in May also dubbed Murdoch “not fit” to run an international corporation.

Last year, the independent shareholders voted by large majorities to exclude his two sons, Lachlan and James, from the board. Because of the varying voting rights of different shares, the Murdoch family could ignore the demands of the independent shareholders. But now some large shareholders have declared they intend to vote against Rupert Murdoch as chairman, including the CalPERS pension fund and fund managers Hermes and Legal & General.

As both chairman and CEO of News Corp., Murdoch is in charge of a company now capitalized as the second-largest media conglomerate in the world. He also is responsible for corporate governance during the period when major News Corp. subsidiaries have been accused of phone and computer hacking, satellite-card piracy, and bribing state officials.

Murdoch Mayhem

Phone Hacking’s Political Twist

As a new trove of 174 victims make their claims in court, prominent Labour politicians are being thrust back into the spotlight of a scandal that’s dragging out longer than ever imagined, reports Peter Jukes.

After nearly 70 arrests, a public inquiry, and the closure of the world’s oldest English-language newspaper, Rupert Murdoch must have hoped his newspapers’ annus horribilis in Britain was drawing to a close.

But two new revelations today suggest that the phone-hacking scandal surrounding his two most popular papers, the Sun and the now-shuttered News of the World, will run on and on.

On Monday, a second tranche of 174 new phone-hacking victims filed their final claims in civil court—a mixture of celebrities, agents, sports personalities, politicians, and their close friends or family, including Hugh Grant, David Beckham’s father, and the former Princess Royal, Sarah Ferguson. Earlier this year, another 50 cases settled their action against the News Corp. subsidiary MGN.


Rupert Murdoch (left) and London Mayor Boris Johnson. (Getty Images)

These new civil cases are the fruits of Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard’s major investigation into the thousands of personal records and details allegedly stored in the notebooks of Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective employed by News of the World.

However, Mulcaire was apparently not the busiest private detective employed by the defunct Sunday tabloid, and phone hacking may not have been the only alleged means of gaining compromising information on public figures.

Fresh revelations from The Independent and The Evening Standard on Monday concerned Southern Investigations, a South London detective firm regularly employed by News of the World for over 20 years despite the fact that one of its founders, Jonathan Rees, has been investigated five times for his links to the murder of his former partner, Daniel Morgan. Though Rees has been arrested during several investigations, he has never been charged for lack of evidence.

The Independent claims to have procured a copy of a witness statement of Derek Haslam, a former undercover police officer placed in Rees’s detective firm. Haslam claims that News of the World employed Southern Investigations to spy on a number of public figures—including Britain’s most senior police officer, Lord Stevens, when he was investigating the Morgan murder.  “I told my handlers that M.P.s, ministers, and Home Secretaries were targets,” writes Haslam in a sworn affidavit, according to The Independent. “They fell into two categories,” Haslam wrote, “one they could earn money from and the other was to use blackmail, influence, to do their own thing.”


Former Murdoch Lawyer Arrested

Tom Crone, the former senior legal figure at News International, Rupert Murdoch’s beleaguered newspaper subsidiary, was arrested this morning by British police.

One of Fleet Street’s most famed and feared operators appears to be ensnared in the ongoing phone-hacking scandal, as Tom Crone, 60, the former head of legal affairs at News International, was arrested in a dawn raid this morning by police officers from Scotland Yard.

“It’s yet another blow to the reputation of News Corp.,” said Chris Bryant, a British M.P. who has been investigating abuses at News International, News Corp.’s beleaguered subsidiary. “I’m glad the police are finally pursuing their investigations wherever the evidence leads them.”

Tom Crone

Geoff Caddick, AFP / Getty Images

Crone resigned from News International during the height of the phone-hacking crisis last summer, and while he has been censured for misleading Parliament, this is the first time he has been arrested by police. “His arrest is clearly significant,” said M.P. Tom Watson in an interview with The Daily Beast. An “articulate and very clever man,” Watson said, “Crone was a loyal servant to Rupert Murdoch for many years.” The lawyer joined News International 25 years ago, and has been its senior legal figure in many high profile disputes and libel cases.

Watson was one of the leading members of the select committee that began looking at the phone-hacking allegations in 2009. On the first day of the hearings, Crone requested that Watson be dismissed from the committee because of a previous legal dispute with the bestselling Sun newspaper. Watson’s dismissal never came to pass, but Crone’s public demand dominated the media coverage.

Today, the tables have turned dramatically. As well as being one of the most effective lawyers in the British press, Crone’s arrest represents the first sign that the police are looking beyond the editorial level for alleged complicity in the phone-hacking scandal.

Back in 2009, Crone told Parliament that the phone-hacking allegations concerned only one rogue reporter and a private detective. When hundreds more victims came to light last year, Crone was recalled to Parliament. Both he and former News of the World editor Colin Myler (now at The New York Daily News]) claim they informed James Murdoch when the greater extent of phone hacking emerged through civil proceedings. James Murdoch has consistently denied this.

Earlier this year, during his appearance at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, Rupert Murdoch conceded there had been a cover-up at News International, and seemed to blame Crone, whom he called a “clever lawyer and drinking pal of the journalists." Crone immediately issued a statement that this was untrue and pointed out that he was attacked for suggesting James Murdoch’s memory was inaccurate. The battle lines were drawn.


Murdoch Legal Manager Arrested

Murdoch Legal Manager Arrested Oli Scarff / Getty Images News

In hacking investigation.

The former legal manager for the now-defunct tabloid the News of the World  was arrested Thursday in the ongoing phone-hacking investigation. Tom Crone, 60, is being held on suspicion of intercepting communications. A source at News International, the British wing of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., said Crone’s arrest followed information that was passed to police from the company Management and Standards Committee. When Murdoch appeared before the Leveson Inquiry last year, he alleged of a cover-up at News International and implicated Crone, although Crone denied the claim.

Read it at Telegraph


Ex-NOTW Scottish Editor Detained

Ex-NOTW Scottish Editor Detained Mark Runnacles / Getty Images

In relation to Tommy Sheridan defamation trial.

British police on Wednesday detained the former Scottish editor for the now-defunct News Corp. tabloid News of the World. Bob Bird, 56, is being questioned over allegations that he perverted the course of justice during the Tommy Sheridan defamation trial. Bird is the third senior News of the World employee to be questioned by police in Operation Rubicon, the Scottish police’s investigation into phone hacking and perjury. Sheridan, a Scottish Socialist politician, successfully sued the tabloid for defamation in 2006, only to be convicted in 2010 of committing perjury in that trial, although investigators say they are reassessing that verdict in light of the phone-hacking allegations.

Read it at BBC News


Hacking Victims to Be Revealed

Hacking Victims to Be Revealed Leon Neal, AFP / Getty Images

Up to 600 names expected to be released.

The names of up to 600 victims of phone hacking are expected to be released in the next few weeks, Britain’s The Independent reported on Wednesday. About 200 names have already been released, including some of the most high-profile victims, such as Sir Paul McCartney, Sienna Miller, and murder victim Milly Dowler, and there are more public figures expected to be named. The news comes as the publishing division is being spun off of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire, and the headlines are likely to generate some negative publicity for his British newspapers, the well-respected Times, the well-read Sun, and the now-defunct News of the World.

Read it at The Independent


Andy Coulson, 6 Others in Court

Andy Coulson, 6 Others in Court Oli Scarff / Getty Images

While News Corp. launches anticorruption review.

Andy Coulson, the former press secretary for British Prime Minister David Cameron, and six others will appear in a London court on Thursday on charges of alleged phone hacking. Coulson, the former editor of the now-defunct tabloid the News of the World, and the other six staff members of the newspaper have been accused of hacking into the phones of up to 600 people between October 2000 and August 2006. Meanwhile, News Corp., the owner of the shuttered tabloid, has launched an anticorruption review at several of its publishing arms, including London’s News International, according a staff memo on Wednesday.

Read it at Channel 4

Pols and Press 'Too Close'

British Prime Minister David Cameron testified before the Leveson Inquiry Thursday, saying politicians and the media have an ‘unhealthy’ relationship that lacks trust and high standards.