It’s going to be harder and harder for people to believe that James Murdoch didn’t know how bad the phone and email hacking situation was at News International. New evidence has emerged showing that emails sent to James that said: “it is as bad as we feared,” were deleted days before a Scotland Yard investigation began.
The Telegraph’s crime writer, Mark Hughes, wrote this morning:
Mr Murdoch was sent the email detailing a hacking claim by Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, on June 7, 2008.
Mr Myler describes Mr Taylor’s case against the paper and requests a meeting with Mr Murdoch. The News International chairman replies two minutes later agreeing to the meeting, but has subsequently claimed he had not had time to read the email in full.
Linklaters, a law firm representing News International, has written to the Commons culture, media and sport committee saying that the email was deleted on Jan 15 2011. Operation Weeting began 11 days later.
The deletion is thought to have happened during or shortly after News International’s internal trawl of emails, the results of which were passed to the police.
Obviously the blame game is being played too, and Murdoch’s last statement on the matter still has him claiming he didn’t read the email properly.
But, he went to the meeting? Which makes it hard to believe that the prevalence of the hacking situation wasn’t actually discussed and that Murdoch didn’t know how bad it actually was.
This is what John Turnbull of Linklaters wrote as the excuse for the email deletion in a letter to the Commons culture, media and sport committee:
Mr Murdoch’s copy of the email was deleted from his mailbox by a member of News International’s IT department on January 15 2011 as part of [an] email stabilisation and modernisation programme.
Mr Myler’s copy of the email was lost from the email archive system in a hardware failure that occurred on March 18 2010. The email archive system was subject to many such incidents.
As usual, a spokesman for News International declined to comment.
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