One thing the Murdochs probably didn’t do last night, is sleep particularly well – James, especially. Documents released by the parliamentary committee investigating illegal voicemail hacking at News International reveal compelling evidence that James has been lying since at least 2008. Either that, or he is just a really shoddy businessman. Maybe both.
The beauty of it all is that the new damning evidence has come out just in time for James to appear before the Committee on Culture, Media, and Sport next week Thursday.
One would have expected James to have had his ducks in a row when he first faced the committee back in July, but maybe he’s just become so good at lying that it didn’t bother him much.
Evidence released yesterday implied Michael Silverleaf, the lead lawyer representing News International in a lawsuit brought by hacking victim Gordon Taylor in 2008, had a legal consultation with James agreeing to a huge payoff for Taylor because the problem was getting out of hand.
Silverleaf told his clients:
There is overwhelming evidence of the involvement of a number of senior NGN (News Group Newspapers) journalists in the illegal enquiries into [illegally obtained information manipulation]. In addition there is substantial surrounding material about the extent of NGN journalists’ attempts to obtain access to information illegally in relation to other individuals. In light of these facts there is a powerful case that there is (or was) a culture of illegal information access used at NGN in order to produce stories for publication. Not only does this mean that NGN is virtually certain to be held liable to Mr Taylor, to have this paraded at a public trial would, I imagine, be extremely damaging to NGN’s public reputation.
James has claimed he thought the hacking was limited to two men: private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, and News of the World royal editor, Clive Goodman, because they had admitted to it publicly.
Right after James had finished testifying in July however, Former News of the World editor, Colin Myler, and former News International legal manager, Tom Crone, stated they’d informed James back in 2008 that the phone hacking went beyond Mulcaire and Goodman.
The new evidence shows a May 2008 conversation that Myler had with Murdoch: they’d discussed Taylor’s lawsuit, and whether to settle. One part of Myler’s notes reads: “James wld say get rid of them – cut out cancer.”
I’m sure the committee will want to know what James meant by “cut out cancer.”
They’ll probably also put two and two together, and look at the way the family of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler have been offered £3 million in damages from News International.
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