UPDATE, 9:10 AM: James Murdoch says Crone and Myler are wrong. In a statement released after the former NOTW execs testified at parliament, Murdoch says they “did not show me the email” that indicated in 2008 that more than one reporter had engaged in phone hacking. What’s more, Murdoch says that neither Crone nor Myler said anyone else was involved: “As I said in my testimony, there was nothing discussed in the meeting that led me to believe that a further investigation was necessary.” Murdoch adds that his memory of his meeting with them “is absolutely clear and consistent” in contrast to the former executives’ testimony, which the News International statement characterizes as “having been unclear and contradictory.”
PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: Former News Of The World legal affairs manager Tom Crone and editor Colin Myler told a parliamentary committee investigating the Murdoch UK hacking scandal that James provided misleading testimony to the committee in July. Murdoch said he thought that only one reporter had broken the law in 2008 when he authorized an astronomical out-of-court settlement to a hacking victim on the condition that the matter be keep quiet. But Crone and Myler say they are “certain” James knew ahead of time about an email that indicates the case involved a second reporter — raising the possibility that the settlement was designed to cover up the breadth of the lawbreaking at NOTW. Crone was unable to recall many details about his meeting with Murdoch. “We had to explain the case to Mr. Murdoch and get his authority to settle, so clearly it was discussed,” Crone said. “I can’t remember the conversation and there isn’t a note of it. The conversation lasted about 15 minutes. It was discussed, but exactly what was said I can’t remember.” Still, Crone told the Commons Culture Committee that the payment wasn’t a form of hush money: He says that the hacking victim, Professional Footballers Association chief Gordon Taylor, had asked for the secrecy provision to protect his privacy. What’s more, Crone says that police already knew about the email.
Meanwhile, News International said today that it will cut about 110 jobs and sell its UK headquarters at Wapping. The site is symbolically important to the Murdochs: In 1986 Rupert cut thousands of jobs — and became embroiled in a brutal battle with press unions — after he secretly moved his UK newspapers from Fleet Street to the highly automated facilities in Wapping.
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