Former executives challenge Murdochs’ testimony

Further doubt cast on News Corp. chief's July statements to Parliament

Topics: Rupert Murdoch,

Former executives challenge Murdochs' testimonyFILE - This is a Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 file photo of a pedestrian he passes signs at the entrance to News International in Wapping, London. Rupert Murdoch's News International said Monday Sept. 5, 2011 it will sell its complex in the east London area of Wapping.The company says it will relocate to another area in east London.The company says in a statement that "current market conditions" led to a decision "not to proceed with remodeling the Wapping site." (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)(Credit: AP)

Former News International executives on Tuesday challenged testimony given by their bosses — Rupert and James Murdoch — with one saying the media mogul had gotten it wrong when he blamed outside lawyers for improperly investigating the company’s tabloid phone hacking scandal.

Jonathan Chapman, the former director of legal affairs with News International, said Rupert Murdoch wasn’t being accurate when he told Parliament that he blamed the London law firm Harbottle & Lewis for failing to uncover the scope of the hacking scandal back in 2007. News International is the British arm of Murdoch’s global News Corp. media empire.

“I don’t think Mr. Murdoch had his facts right,” Chapman told lawmakers. “He was wrong.”

Chapman was one of four executives fielding questions from Parliament’s media committee about what they knew and when — and all have already cast doubt on key aspects of the testimony given by the Murdoch family earlier this summer.

The hacking scandal has decimated Murdoch’s British newspaper arm, leading to the closure of its top-selling Sunday tabloid, News of the World, and the arrests of more than a dozen journalists.

It’s also rocked the top levels of Britain’s political and police elite. Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor and until recently one of Prime Minister David Cameron’s top aides, has resigned — as have the two top officers with Scotland Yard. Coulson was one of 15 people arrested.

Media committee chairman John Whittingdale says the latest hearing aims to uncover the truth about a critical piece of evidence, unearthed in 2008, suggesting that voicemail interception at the News of the World was far more widespread than the tabloid claimed at the time.

Questions about who saw the evidence are critical to establishing whether there was an attempt to cover up the scale of illegal behavior at the now-defunct tabloid.

The News of the World stands accused of spying on a host of politicians, celebrities, top athletes, crime victims and even terrorism survivors by systematically intercepting voicemail messages in an effort to get scoops. Allegations of computer hacking and police bribery are also being investigated by Scotland Yard.

You Might Also Like

The evidence in question was an email carrying the transcript of an illegally intercepted conversation and marked “for Neville” — an apparent reference to the News of the World’s chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck.

Because it apparently implicates others in the hacking, the email has the potential to undermine News International’s fiercely held contention that one reporter alone, Clive Goodman, had engaged in phone hacking.

If Rupert Murdoch’s son James knew about the email — and was aware of its implication — it would lend weight to the suggestion that he had approved a massive payoff to one employee in an effort to bury the scandal.

James Murdoch has said earlier that he was not aware of the email at the time, but former News International legal adviser Tom Crone and Colin Myler, a former editor at News of the World, contradicted him in Tuesday’s testimony.

“I told him about the document,” Crone insisted, adding there could be no doubt that “this document meant that News of the World had a wider problem and that we had to get out of it.”

Daniel Cloke, News International’s former personnel director, also contradicted James Murdoch’s contention that he and Chapman had approved the massive compensation awarded to Goodman, the disgraced reporter. One lawmaker has alleged that payment was made to buy Goodman’s silence about the scale of phone hacking at the paper.

Cloke and Chapman said it was Murdoch’s right-hand man, Les Hinton, who signed off on the quarter million pound payout.

Hinton, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was the most senior Murdoch executive to resign in the hacking scandal.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>