The Metropolitan Police in London have found a cell phone hidden in the newsroom of News Corp’s now-shuttered News Of The World newspaper that they believe was the one used to hack into hundreds of voicemails. That’s the illegal practice that has ensnared News Corp in a scandal that has been felt all the way to the conglomerate’s board and the Murdoch family that controls it. The Financial Times reports the phone could have been used more than 1,000 times to hack phones between 2004 and 2006, and that it is the first piece of physical evidence that the practice was going on inside the walls of the tabloid. The phone is registered to News International, News Corp’s UK newspaper arm; several ex-News International and NOTW employees have been arrested and questioned in the police’s Operation Weeting investigation. The next big news in the probe could come from James Murdoch, the head of News Corp’s European operations, who is scheduled to re-appear in front of a parliamentary panel November 10. Lawmakers will ask again whether he knew more about the extent of the hacking than he said he claimed during his first round of testimony. The cloud around Murdoch’s possible knowledge of the hacking practices — and the allegation that he paid $1.4 million in hush money to a victim in 2008 — has taken its toll on the heir apparent to father Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. During last week’s shareholders meeting in Los Angeles, he was opposed in re-election to the board by most of News Corp’s independent voters.
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