Breaking News … Refresh for latest live-blogging from London …
When Rupert Murdoch settles into Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s hearing room in London today, it will be the mogul’s first such appearance since last July when he sat before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. In the thick of the phone hacking scandal at the News Of The World and the revelations of intercepted voice mails on the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, Murdoch told that panel it was the “most humble” day of his life. He was later the target of an attack by a shaving foam pie thrower. It’s unlikely such a thing will occur again. What will come up again, though, are the phone hacking scandal, Murdoch’s relationship to British politicians and News Corp’s bid for BSkyB. The political and BSkyB aspects of James Murdoch’s testimony yesterday ended up overshadowing the proceedings where many thought phone hacking would be the focus. It’s likely today that unflappable counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC will hone in on Murdoch’s association with government. Let’s follow along, shall we? (All times below are local UK time.)
10:05 The hearing is off to a late start, but Murdoch has arrived at the High Court.
10:11 Lord Justice Brian Leveson begins by reading a statement saying he is approaching the proceedings with an impartial stance. He also says he understands the press will draw their own conclusions. In light of the reaction yesterday and this morning to James Murdoch’s testimony, he wants to explain something of the judicial process. “I understand some of the reactions yesterday,” but he says he is “acutely aware” documents such as the emails read yesterday can’t be taken at face value. He says he’s not taking sides but wants to say he needs to hear all sides before his findings. He says everyone involved will appear, seeming to hint that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt may give evidence at a later date. Leveson’s heard calls for other inquiries but feels this one needs to end before further investigation.
Murdoch is sworn in, he has legal aid by his side to help with documents.
10:14 Jay says: Is it fair to say you’ve been following British politics for 60 years? Murdoch answers yes, laughs and says “with varying intensity.”
The state of media in this country is vital to all its citizens, Murdoch says. He welcomes the opportunity to appear at the hearing to “put certain myths to bed.” He says abuses go further than phone hacking. Read More »
James Murdoch sat for more than five hours today to answer questions on the phone-hacking scandal and News Corp‘s acquisition of BSkyB. But the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics seemed to be focusing on someone other than the embattled scion. And therein lies the twist: The person who is likely to come out of this hearing with the most to answer for is not a Murdoch, but UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Reams of emails show possibly inappropriate exchanges between Hunt, who was involved in approving the BSkyB deal, and Murdoch, who contended a “very large public affairs engagement is normal in such a big merger.” The Labour Party has called for Hunt’s resignation in the wake of the revelations.
Related: Live-Blog: James Murdoch Appearing Before Leveson Inquiry Into U.K. Media Ethics Read More »
Almost 50 new civil claims have been filed in the phone hacking scandal that has rocked Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper division. In London this morning, Hugh Tomlinson, the attorney representing a large part of the claimants said he had 44 … Read More »
Rupert Murdoch is in for a lot of embarrassment tonight based on this clip from the documentary about the UK hacking scandal that will air on PBS’ Frontline. It describes how important News Of The World and other UK tabloids were to Murdoch’s rise, his love of gossip, and how his … Read More »
When Harry Potter author JK Rowling gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics last November, she called the Press Complaints Commission “toothless.” Now, the British newspaper watchdog is to be formally defanged as it moves … Read More »
An FBI probe into a company formerly controlled by News Corp suggests U.S. investigators are looking at a wider swath of the conglomerate’s activity than had been thought. News Outdoor Russia, a billboard company that News Corp divested itself of last July, has come under scrutiny from FBI agents as investigators seek to ascertain whether it paid bribes to local officials, The Wall Street Journal reports. News Corp has been under fire in Britain over a phone-hacking scandal at its now-shuttered News Of The World tabloid and is also facing allegations of bribes paid to public officials in the UK by journalists at The Sun newspaper. Thus far, the conglomerate has not had charges leveled at it in America, but the FBI probe into its Russian dealings follows on from the opening of an investigation last July to explore an unsubstantiated claim that 9/11 victims had their voicemail hacked on behalf of the News Of The World. Read More »
With Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspapers under increasing fire, it has seemed almost inevitable that the mogul would be called to testify in the ongoing inquiry into the nation’s media ethics. According to a report today, the Leveson Inquiry is … Read More »
It’s the latest and potentially most high-profile lawsuit yet to come out of the UK phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed News Corp’s British newspapers. The company has already settled more than 50 lawsuits related to probes that uncovered the widespread … Read More »
With Rupert Murdoch arriving in London this week amid the deepening crisis in his UK news empire, Bloomberg reports the mogul could also face unhappy staffers at The Sun who have demanded an audience with him. Scotland Yard is … Read More »
It was a busy day at the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics. This morning it was confirmed that police have recovered millions of emails from the main server of News Corp’s News International unit that were thought to have been deleted, while Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre in the afternoon continued to refute Hugh Grant’s earlier testimony that the Sunday newspaper had hacked into the actor’s voicemail for a 2007 story. Sue Akers, the police chief in charge of three investigations into alleged press misconduct, testified that investigators are working to search through the recovered emails, which News Corp’s UK newspaper arm said had been deleted, but that the work will take a few more months. She also noted that the police have a “cooperative working relationship” with News Corp’s management and standards committee, which the group set up when the phone-hacking scandal at the News Of The World blew wide open this summer.
Meanwhile, Dacre spoke to events from November last year when Grant, in the first allegation against a paper not controlled by News Corp., told Read More »
Today brings more potential bad news for Rupert Murdoch’s embattled News International. British Labour Party MP Tom Watson tweeted this morning that the Metropolitan police have confirmed to him they are investigating News International-owned The Times newspaper over email … Read More »
New revelations in the News Of The World phone-hacking scandal have emerged over the past day. A 2008 email from the paper’s then-editor Colin Myler to James Murdoch — in which Myler alerted Murdoch of alleged rife phone hacking practices — was deleted from Murdoch’s account in January 2011, less than two weeks before Scotland Yard launched Operation Weeting, the investigation into phone hacking at the newspaper. The deletion resulted in the email not being a part of the initial evidence in the investigation. In a letter to the U.K.’s Culture Media and Sport Committee, lawyers for News International say Myler’s copy of the email was lost in a “hardware failure” in 2010 and that Murdoch’s copy was deleted by a member of News International’s IT staff during an email stabilization and modernization program. Murdoch has previously acknowledged answering the email when he received it but has contended he did not read the entire chain. Read More »
Embattled News Corp scion James Murdoch is stepping down from the board of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, the company announced today. GSK said Murdoch would not stand for re-election in order to focus on his role at BSkyB and in light of … Read More »
A UK parliamentary committee has published a letter from Surrey police about the investigation into the disappearance and murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The letter is presented as evidence in the committee’s investigation into phone hacking and attempts to … Read More »
Following yesterday’s revelations of settlements in the News Of The World phone hacking scandal, it’s now reported that News Corp’s News International could face an FBI investigation over a possible offense on US soil involving Jude Law. According to The Telegraph, the potential FBI probe relates to a 2003 News Of The World article that News International has acknowledged was the result of phone hacking. The article contains references to phone calls Law’s assistant made to the actor when he arrived at an airport believed to be New York’s JFK. According to the Telegraph report, if Law’s phone was on a US network, it could mean an offense under US law. The FBI confirmed it was looking into the situation. In related news, News International has been ordered to search more computers for evidence of attempts by former employees to perpetrate a cover up of phone hacking schemes. Read More »
UPDATE, 10:30 AM: Payout amounts of some 15 of the now 37 claims to be settled today have been revealed. According to The Associated Press, Jude Law received £130,000 and his ex-wife Sadie Frost got £50,000, while … Read More »
The Guardian in the UK is among those reporting that a woman who served as former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks’ personal assistant for 19 years has been arrested in connection with the News Of The World phone-hacking scandal. … Read More »
UPDATE: Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills has declared she is being made a “scapegoat” by Piers Morgan. Mills’ name popped up repeatedly at a Tuesday session of the Leveson Inquiry into UK press ethics … Read More »
It’s come to this: The News Corp Deputy COO says he saw, but didn’t actually read, a newly released email from 2008 that would demolish a key part of his defense in the News Of The World hacking scandal. The email included a note warning that a hacking victim wanted hush money to hide the fact that the scandal was bigger than News Corp had publicly acknowledged. “Unfortunately, it’s as bad as we feared,” former News Corp lawyer Colin Myler wrote to Murdoch asking for five minutes to discuss the matter. “No worries,” Murdoch replied three minutes later as he proposed times when they could talk.
The documents, released today by the parliamentary committee investigating the scandal, rip at Murdoch’s main defense against the charge that he tried to cover up the full extent of the lawbreaking. Murdoch insists that he did not obstruct justice when he agreed in mid-2008 to pay hacking victim Gordon Taylor — the former head of the Professional Football Association — $1.2M on the condition that he keep quiet about the matter. Murdoch says he really believed at the time what News Corp had said publicly including to Parliament: that the problem was limited to a single, rogue reporter. Yet the email reveals that Taylor knew otherwise and “wishes to be vindicated or made rich.” Taylor Read More »