Jump to content
The Education Forum

Rupert Murdoch and the Corruption of the British Media

Recommended Posts

Phone hacking jury told Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had six-year affair

Relationship covers much of period editors are said to have been involved in criminal conspiracy to hack phones

Rebekah Brooks had a secret affair for at least six years with Andy Coulson, her successor as editor of the News of the World, it emerged at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

The jury in the phone-hacking trial was told that the clandestine relationship took place between 1998 and 2004, covering much of the period when Brooks and Coulson are said to have been involved in a criminal conspiracy to hack phones.

Andrew Edis QC, for the crown, said the revelation was not designed to invade their privacy but to help the prosecution demonstrate that they had a deeply trusting relationship during their period working together at the News of the World.

The existence of the relationship was discovered after police found a letter from Brooks to Coulson dated February 2004.

"What Mr Coulson knew, Mrs Brooks knew too and what Mrs Brooks knew, Mr Coulson knew too, that is the point. Because it's clear from that letter as at February 2004 they had been having an affair which had lasted at least six years. So that takes us right back to 1998 which is the whole conspiracy period," Edis told the jury.

Brooks edited the News of the World between 2000 and 2003, before moving on to edit the Sun. Coulson was her deputy at the Sunday newspaper, stepping up to become editor on her departure to the daily title.

Brooks married actor Ross Kemp in 2002, having been in a long term relationship with him for several years previously. They separated in 2006 and were divorced in 2009. She went on to marry Charlie Brooks, who is also on trial with Rebekah for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Coulson married his wife Eloise in 2000.

Edis explained that the letter had been found on a computer when the Met police investigating the phone-hacking scandal in 2011 searched her home. "A computer was found in a cupboard in Mrs Brooks's London address and it was examined. On it was found a Word document written by her to Mr Coulson.

"It seems to be in February 2004 and it was written undoubtedly to Mr Coulson. Whether it was ever sent or received by him we do not know, because the evidence is the document on the computer," Edis told the jury.

The court heard that the letter – apparently written by Brooks in response to Coulson trying to end the affair – included a declaration of her love for her colleague.

Edis said the letter was "intelligent" and "well written" and appeared to have been written after Coulson "was seeking to break off the affair".

It was "perfectly obvious from the letter that this cause her a great deal of grief", Edis said.

The prosecutor added that he would only read out the last part of the letter and there was no way of knowing if it had been sent or received.

Brooks wrote: "Finally, the least of my worries, but how do we then work this new relationship? There are hundreds of things which have happened since Saturday that I would normally share with you."

She continued: "Most important, the fact is you are my best my friend. I tell you everything, I confide in you, I seek your advice, I love you, care about you, worry about you. We laugh and cry together. In fact, without our relationship in my life I'm really not sure I will cope."

Brooks went onto say: "The thought of finding out anything about you from someone else fills me with absolute dread."

The jury heard that Brooks talked about how their new future relationship would work, asking if she should email "if anything important happens".

She added: "I don't understand this, we are either there for each other or we are not.

"How will this work for you? Do we limit contact until we absolutely have to?"

Edis told jurors he was not revealing the affair to deliberately intrude into their privacy or to make a "moral judgment," before giving his reasons for its disclosure.

"But Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson are charged with conspiracy and, when people are charged with conspiracy, the first question a jury has to answer is how well did they know each other? How much did they trust each other?

"And the fact that they were in this relationship which was a secret means that they trusted each other quite a lot with at least that secret and that's why we are telling you about it."

He said the revelation was likely to attract a "great deal of publicity" and may draw some "unfair, unkind and unnecessary" comment.

Mr Edis had told the jury that the letter contained a "revelation" that needed to be put to the jury as an important part of the prosecution's evidence. He introduced the sensitive matter by saying: "I want to tell you about something that I want to handle as carefully as I can."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 1.1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Andy Coulson told news editor of Calum Best story: 'do his phone'

Jury in phone-hacking trial told of methods News of the World journalists allegedy used to substantiate celebrity stories

Andy Coulson instructed a senior executive on his newspaper to try to substantiate a tip-off about George Best's son by telling him to "do his phone", the jury in the phone-hacking trial was told by the prosecution as the case entered its third day.

The then editor of the News of the World wrote the three words in an email dated 20 May 2006, according to the crown, as the newspaper sought to establish whether it was true that Calum Best was about to become a father. The email was a reference to a discussion Coulson was having with Ian Edmondson, the tabloid's then news editor, over the possibility that Best had become suspicious that the paper was on to him.

"They were concerned about leaks, Calum might leak their story to the competition," said Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, on Friday. No evidence has been put before the jury that his phone was hacked at that time.

Both Coulson and Edmondson have been charged with a conspiracy to intercept mobile phone messages while they were at the News of the World. Both deny the charges.

Calum Best: the News of the World was attempting to stand up a story that he had become a father, the jury heard. Photograph: Piers Allardyce/Rex Features

Journalists at the News of the World also hacked the phone of a special adviser to Charles Clarke to try to stand up an untrue story she was having an affair with the then education secretary, the jury was told.

Hannah Pawlby was put under surveillance by the newspaper, and her voicemail messages listened to by the newspaper's £92,000-a-year hacker Glenn Mulcaire, the prosecution said.

Coulson, the then editor of the Sunday tabloid, sought to speak to Clarke. The minister denied the story, said Edis.

"They were chasing a shadow. But they were chasing it keenly and it was Mr Coulson who was chasing it," the QC added.

The prosecutor said the tip to the newspaper had originally come from a Westminster source. In an attempt to stand it up, the journalists at the paper used "three ways to investigate: phone hacking, surveillance and confrontation," the QC said.

"The editor is personally involved in the third. It's obvious he knew about the second, he must do. What about the first? Does he know about phone hacking? He says not. We say 'oh yes he does'. They are working as a team and he's the boss of the team," Edis told the jury.

The story was not true and never appeared.

Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills: had their phones hacked for years, the jury was told. Photograph: Todd Williamson/FilmMagic

Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills had their phones hacked by News of the World journalists for years, the jury also heard.

Edis said the crown had evidence that the hacking had started when the newspaper published a "wedding ring" story in 2002 and carried on until at least 2004 when Edmondson, the then head of news, joined the paper.

"Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were the subject of phone hacking for years. I refer you back to the wedding ring story in 2002," said Edis pointing the jury to a timeline in his opening statement. "[They were] still hacking when Edmonson joined the paper," he added.

Edis said Edmondson "tasked Mr Mulcaire in relation to Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills".

The Old Bailey jury heard earlier in the trial that Brooks, who was succeeded as News of the World editor by Coulson in January 2003, once told the former wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie how easy it was to hack mobile phone voicemail. The jury was told that Brooks gave the example of a story involving McCartney and Mills rowing over an engagement ring.

On Friday the jury was told that Edmondson, who has been charged with a conspiracy to hack mobile phones, tasked Mulcaire on many occasions to eavesdrop on messages of celebrities including Jude Law, his partner Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller. Edmondson was not in court on Friday after being given leave by Mr Justice Saunders not to attend every day.

Also allegedly hacked on the instructions of Edmondson was Mark Oaten, a prominent Liberal Democrat MP in 2006.

Jude Law and his former girlfriend Sienna Miller: also allegedly targeted by News of the World journalists. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

The names of several other alleged victims of phone hacking were read to the jury. They included Best, Law, Frost, Miller, Oaten, Sven Goran Eriksson, Sir Paul McCartney and his then wife Heather Mills, singer Kerry Katona, the Duchess of Cornwall's son Tom Parker Bowles, and some members of the royal household staff.

Edis told the jury journalists at the News of the World used phone hacking as a "perfectly rational but entirely illegal" way of checking the truth of potential news stories.

Coulson, former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, ex-News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner and former news editor Ian Edmondson all deny conspiring with others to hack phones between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006.

Brooks, whom the jury has been told had a six-year affair with Coulson between 1998 and 2004, also denies two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office.

Coulson is also facing two allegations he conspired with former royal editor Clive Goodman and others to commit misconduct in public office.

Brooks also faces two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, and the second with her husband Charles and the head of security at News International, Mark Hanna.

All deny the charges.

The case continues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tabloid Hacked Prince Harry’s Phone, Jury Is Told


Published: November 1, 2013

The New York Times

  • LONDON — The tabloid The News of the World, now defunct, hacked into Prince Harry’s cellphone in 2005 to write an article about how he had sought help from his private secretary, a former member of the military, to prepare a term paper for officers’ school at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the jury in Britain’s phone hacking trial heard on Friday.

The young prince was seeking help for a paper on the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege in London. He asked his private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former Special Air Service officer who trained at Sandhurst: “Just wondering if you have any info at all on siege on the Iranian Embassy because I need to write an essay quite quickly on that. I need some inf. Have most of the stuff but if you have extra.”

Help in doing academic work is a violation of academy rules, but there were few repercussions for the prince, now 29 and a helicopter gunner with the British Army.

A prosecutor, Andrew Edis, read the transcript of the voice mail message and said the newspaper article was “based entirely” on it, although, he told the jury, the editors were careful that the article not be too specific, in an effort to disguise how the information had been obtained.

The transcript was taken from Clive Goodman, the former royal editor of The News of the World, who was jailed over phone hacking in 2007 and lost his job. He apparently kept the document as part of a suit he filed against the newspaper, in which he claimed that senior editors supported his actions.

The message was taken from Prince Harry’s phone by a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, who was also jailed over phone hacking in 2007. He was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the newspaper and has pleaded guilty to additional charges of phone hacking.

Mr. Edis, who is laying out the prosecution’s case before presenting evidence, said Andy Coulson, one of the tabloid’s senior editors, and Mr. Goodman had discussed how to publish the article about Prince Harry’s seeking help from his secretary without revealing how they learned of it. They decided not to refer to the siege itself, because it would be “too precise to get through unnoticed,” the prosecutor said.

Mr. Edis also said Mr. Coulson had emailed a journalist at the tabloid to order him to “do” a celebrity’s phone, telling the jury that it would have to decide what the verb meant. The celebrity in question was the son of a famous soccer player, George Best.

The prosecution is trying to prove that the eight defendants, among them Mr. Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, another senior editor at The News of The World, are guilty of crimes that include conspiracy to violate privacy and to suborn officials by paying them. In one instance, Mr. Coulson is said to have told Mr. Goodman to pay 1,000 pounds in cash to a policeman for a copy of the royal telephone directory.

Mr. Edis claims that the acts of News of the World journalists could not have been unknown or unapproved by their senior editors. Journalists at the newspaper, he said, used phone hacking as a “perfectly rational but entirely illegal” way of finding and substantiating stories about the rich and famous.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rebekah Brooks tried to hide evidence as News of the World closed, jury told

Ex-News International chief conspired to conceal her notebooks in 'panic' around paper's closure, phone-hacking trial hears


Rebekah Brooks was involved in a deliberate effort to hide material from police during the "panic-stricken" days around the closure of the News of the World, the jury in the phone-hacking trial has been told.

Brooks, then chief executive of News of the World publisher News International, and her personal assistant Cheryl Carter have been accused of trying to conceal seven boxes of her notebooks the day after the announcement that the paper was to close down and two days before its final edition. They deny the charges.

Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, told the jury on Monday the attempt to hide evidence happened during the "fevered" and "anxious" days before the paper was closed in early July 2011.

Edis said Brooks was aware Scotland Yard had reopened its investigation into phone hacking in January 2011 and had declared the company's determination to co-operate with the police.

"There was always a course of justice in existence which could be perverted by hiding evidence. Hiding evidence was not acceptable at any time that year, but the atmosphere, we would suggest, became even more fevered as time went on," said Edis.

On 7 July 2011 it was announced that the News of the World was to close. On 8 July Carter arranged to have the boxes containing Brooks's notebooks removed from the News International archive in Enfield, the jury was told.

This day, said Edis, was a "significant day" as it was the day that the former editor of the News of the World, Andy Coulson, was arrested.

"A media firestorm which was about to engulf the News of the World, so you can imagine the extremely anxious if not panic-stricken approach that must have been going on," Edis told the jury.

"When we come to look at what Mrs Brooks was doing in July 2011, we always need to bear in mind the context. This was a big business for News International and for her. At all times she was aware there was a police inquiry, Operation Weeting," he added.

Phone-hacking trial: Cheryl Carter arrives at the Old Bailey. Photograph: Barcroft Media

The jury heard how Carter, along with her son Nick and Gary Keegan, the husband of Brooks's other personal assistant Deborah Keegan, went to Enfield to collect seven boxes of notebooks and took them to Carter's home.

They were told they were selected for this exercise two days before the News of the World was to close because they could be trusted.

Later, in an interview with police under caution, Carter said the boxes had in fact been mislabelled and contained her own notebooks, the prosecution said.

The boxes of notebooks have never been found, Edis added.

Carter was also alleged to have given a false alibi to the police about the whereabouts of Brooks on the same day claiming she was not in the office, when mobile phone records show that the two of them had been at News International's Wapping headquarters.

"The false alibi was quite dishonest to cover what happened. Because she'd remember where the boss was on the Friday before the News of the World closed, wouldn't she?" said Edis.

He claimed that Carter not only lied about the contents of the boxes but also about the reasons for removing them.

Carter said when she was being questioned by police the reason why the boxes were removed was because Ian Mayes, the News International archivist, had asked her to move them because the archive was downsizing. Edis told the jury that was simply not true.

"So there were a number of falsehoods about this exercise all of which were completely unnecessary if they related to material related to Mrs Carter, not Mrs Brooks," said Edis.

Brooks ordered deletion of emails, court told

Edis also alleged that Brooks ordered the deletion of emails that covered the entire period of her editorship of the News of the World and the Sun.

It was "normal policy" for companies to have email deletion policies to improve efficiency. "There's nothing wrong with that in principle," he said, and News International's original plan was to delete everything "before December 2008".

But by looking at "Mrs Brooks's personal involvement" in the email deletion, "we may learn what she hoped it might achieve for her", he said.

In January 2010 Brooks sent an email to News International's legal affairs department asking: "What happens to my emails with deletion?"

In June she inquired why the deletion programme was not already under way. "That's her chasing the implementation of the email deletion," said Edis.

Then in August 2010 she sent another email reiterating that everyone needed to know that "anything before January 2010 will not be kept". When that date of January 2010 was queried, she replied: "Yes. January 2010. Clean sweep, Thanks."

Edis said: "So there's a change in the date. Now it is anything before January 2010. Which happens to catch her entire time as a working editor at News International."

On the changing of the email deletion date, Edis said: "We suggest that shows Mrs Brooks may have had a personal interest in this email deletion policy – both to the date of the cut-off and for her own personal emails – also that it should be got on with.

"This is all going on in the context of the Guardian having published its article in the summer of 2009.

"We suggest that there is some evidence that Mrs Brooks was keen to get rid of the material that related to her activities when she was editor, first of the News of the World and then of the Sun."

Vince Cable: Brooks voiced concerns his stance on News Corp's BSkyB takeover. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The jury was also shown an exchange of emails dating back to December 2010 between Brooks and Matthew Anderson, News International's head of corporate affairs.

Brooks emailed Anderson about her concerns that Vince Cable, the business secretary, would not change his view on News International parent company News Corporation's bid to take full control of BSkyB.

In an email dated 16 December 2010, she protested that the Financial Times was "attacking News International because News Corporation are trying to buy Sky", adding: "It's not going to change Cable's view of us."

Anderson replied by saying he was confident that they could put some distance between the company and the phone hacking days of the past. "What we lose by not putting out a statement is credibility. We have spent months moving from rogue reporter to zero tolerance with some success," he wrote.

Five days later, on 21 December 2011, Cable was stripped of responsibility for ruling on News Corp's Sky takeover after telling undercover Daily Telegraph reporters he was "at war" with Rupert Murdoch.

The trial continues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Phone hacking trial: Kate Middleton's name found in Glenn Mulcaire list

Jury told note seized from News of the World investigator's office also included Max Clifford and Boris Johnson's names

Kate Middleton's name was found in a handwritten note by Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by News of the World who hacked phones of public figures and celebrities, the Old Bailey has been told.

The prosecution showed the jury in the phone-hacking trial a note on Tuesday morning that was seized by police from Mulcaire's premises in 2006 titled "Target evaluation", with a list of 18 names.

The first name was PR agent Max Clifford but the list also included Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge. Other names on the list included Sven-Goran Eriksson, Boris Johnson, David James, Kerry Katona, Tom Parker Bowles and the former Sky presenter Andy Gray.

The court was discussing evidence in relation to the alleged hacking of the phones of Delia Smith and a stunt double used by Angelina Jolie and did not make any further reference to Middleton.

Others on the list included Helen Asprey, now personal private secretary to Prince Harry; Jamie Lowther Pinkerton, former private secretary to Prince William; and a friend of Prince Harry, Mark Dyer. Also featured were model Abi Titmuss and the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor.

Earlier on Tuesday the jury was told that Smith had been targeted by Mulcaire following an incident at Norwich football ground when she made an announcement over a tannoy. It was later alleged in the media that she was drunk.

Eunice Huthart worked as a stunt double for Jolie during the making of the Hollywood film Mr and Mrs Smith, where the actor met Brad Pitt, the court heard.

In a statement read to the court, Huthart, who became a stunt actor after appearing on the ITV show Gladiators, said in 2005 she was living in Los Angeles and shared a house with Jolie. "It was well reported in the media that we were good friends," the statement said.

Huthart said she had experienced difficulties with her mobile pin number not working and being unable to access her voicemails. Her statement added: "I had a number of conversations with Vodafone and being frustrated about why my pin number didn't work."

The court heard Huthart's details were found in Mulcaire's notebooks, and phone records showed he had accessed her UVN – unique voicemail number – on four occasions.

Mulcaire pleaded guilty to charges related to phone hacking earlier this year in proceedings that were first reported when the trial opened in late October.

The trial continues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

News International executive said Rebekah Brooks would be protected

Email from Will Lewis allegedly found on computer at Brooks's address mentions legal retort to allegations from MPs


A senior News International executive working alongside Rebekah Brooks told her husband she would be protected from attacks by MPs over the phone-hacking allegations, the Old Bailey has heard.

Emails, allegedly found on an Apple computer at the London address of Brooks and her husband, Charlie, included one from Will Lewis as the News of the World faced fresh allegations from Labour MP Chris Bryant over hacking claims in March 2011.

One of the questions posed by Bryant was whether alleged phone hacking had begun under the editorship of Brooks (then known as Rebekah Wade), the jury was told. In 2011 Brooks was chief executive of News of the World publisher News International.

On 11 March 2011 Brooks's husband, Charlie, emailed Lewis: "Hi Will. Is Rebekah ok? Bryant point one seemed pretty aggressive."

Lewis, a senior News International executive, replied: "Charlie. She's OK. We were working flat out on other things with Rupert all day yesterday so it didn't really have an effect.

"She was knackered by close of play as jet lag did for her. Hopefully had a better sleep last night.

"More generally Bryant is clearly making stuff up. There was a concerted effort by him and some other MPs and Panorama this Monday to push the start of the saga back before 2005 in order to target Rebekah.

"We will not let this happen. Panorama has already been hit by two legal letters."

Brooks's husband responded: "Thanks Will. Was worried. I am glad she has you alongside her."

Another email exchange, allegedly found on the same computer and shown to the jury, began with Tory MP Philip Dunne emailing a news story about the Milly Dowler hacking allegations on 4 July 2011 to Charlie Brooks.

He then forwarded it to Lewis, with the message: "Hi Will. I have the Friends dvd. Is the below a problem for Rebekah?"

Lewis replied: "Another attempted hit on Rebekah by [Tom] Watson [MP]. Far from ideal and the Dowler family quotes are bad. We are on the back foot as we are blind on the Mulcaire documents."

The allegation was that the murdered schoolgirl's phone had been hacked. There was no evidence of another allegation made at the time that her messages had been deleted, the jury were reminded.

In the early hours of 5 July 2011, Brooks was working on a draft of a public statement she was to make, attaching it in an email to her husband at 3.52am with the message: "I think this needs work, darling," the court heard.

She emailed a finished version to him later in the day, writing in the subject field: "think Swan baby xxx."

The statement, which was sent to staff, described the Milly Dowler allegations as "almost too horrific to believe".

It added: "I hope you all realise it is inconceivable that I knew or worse sanctioned this appalling behaviour."

In an earlier email chain, found on the same computer and dated 7 April 2011, Brooks and Lewis discussed a draft statement relating to the launch of a compensation scheme and civil litigation claims against the company over hacking allegations.

Lewis emailed Brooks: "I don't think we should use the 'rogue reporter' phrase in the statement?" Brooks responded: "Send it to me please."

The finished version did not contain the phrase, the court heard.

The jury were also shown documents relating to Brooks's response following the 2007 trial of former royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

To one request, from the Press Complaints Commission, to detail procedures in place in March 2007, when she was editor of the Sun, she wrote that the paper "deplores" the type of "snooping" revealed by the Goodman case.

It added staff breaking the law would be in breach of contract and could face instant dismissal.

On cash payments, she said no payments were made without being referred for authorisation to the editor, or editor of the day.

Brooks, Andy Coulson (another former News of the World editor), Stuart Kuttner (the paper's former managing editor) and Ian Edmondson (its former head of news), all deny conspiracy to intercept mobile phone voicemail messages.

Brooks, Coulson and the paper's former royal editor, Clive Goodman, all deny conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Brooks, her husband Charlie, her former PA Cheryl Carter, and the News International head of security, Mark Hanna, all deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The case continues on Monday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

December 2, 2013

Fates of Brooks and Coulson in Tabloid Hacking Case Are Diverging


The New York Times

LONDON — Once they were friends and colleagues who reveled in the heady world of British news, politics and intrigue. Together they rose from the scrappy newsrooms of London’s tabloids to the heights of establishment power, she as head of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper empire, he as Prime Minister David Cameron’s chief spokesman. For six years they were lovers, carrying on their affair even as each married someone else.

Now Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are together again, this time in the dock at the Old Bailey, London’s main criminal court, facing charges of illegally intercepting voice messages and other crimes in connection with their work for Mr. Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

Since their arrests, their lives have sharply diverged.

Though they sit side by side in court, it is not by choice; their seats are assigned. Nothing about their body language suggests their history of intimacy. They bid each other good morning and good evening, but there is little more than that. When the prosecution read out a steamy letter from Ms. Brooks to Mr. Coulson as evidence of their affair, she looked uneasily down at her lap; he stared straight ahead.

Ms. Brooks, 45, a Murdoch darling who worked as chief executive of Mr. Murdoch’s News International before resigning when the phone hacking scandal engulfed her in the summer of 2011, never lost the support of the man who was her boss, friend, mentor and protector.

She walked away with a $17.6 million severance package that incorporated “compensation for loss of office” and various “ongoing benefits.” These have not been specified but are believed to include the car and driver that bring her to court each day. She has houses in London and in Oxfordshire.

But from appearances at least, she is a changed woman. Her clingy, look-at-me clothes have been replaced by functional skirts and blouses; she wears little makeup. She sees a small circle of close friends, no longer goes to the glamorous parties she used to love, and is devoting her time to the legal case and to the baby she had via a surrogate.

“She’s doing as well as can be expected, which is not great,” a friend said.

Still, she is rich. And she is in better shape than Mr. Coulson, 45, who resigned twice over different phases of the phone hacking scandal: once as editor of the News of the World in 2007 and again as director of communications for Mr. Cameron in 2011. Cut loose by the Murdochs, shunned by his old government friends, short of cash and out of work for nearly three years, he has had to sell his expensive London house and move out of town with his wife and three children.

Mr. Coulson appears unchanged physically, and still wears the same nondescript business suits he always did, He commutes to the trial from his new home in Kent or stays overnight in modest hotels or friends’ houses. The Murdochs washed their hands of him long ago, rightly concluding that his employment at Downing Street made the hacking scandal far more combustible by implicating the government and the Conservative Party.

“My feeling is that he has paid a much higher price than anyone else,” said Roy Greenslade, a professor of journalism at City University here. “He didn’t get a massive payoff, he didn’t get Murdoch standing behind him, and he had to fall on his sword twice.”

A journalist from a competing news organization said, “He has lost everything, basically.”

While Ms. Brooks’s legal expenses have been paid by her old employer, Mr. Coulson — whose bills have passed the $400,000 mark and will inevitably climb much higher — has had a different experience. Despite negotiating an exit package in which the company was obliged to pay his legal bills should he be charged in connection with his work as editor, Mr. Coulson has had to take the company to court to obtain the payments.

Even though it lost the case, the company is still paying only grudgingly, Mr. Coulson’s friends say.

“To this day, they’re making it supremely difficult for him to get his bills paid,” said an acquaintance of Mr. Coulson’s who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke anonymously to comment on a pending case. “They’re going through his bills with a fine-tooth comb, and the big problem is that they’re delaying payments. He has a big team, and it makes life very difficult.”

Both Mr. Coulson and Ms. Brooks are likely to have to pay back at least some of the money to the company if they are found guilty. (Both have pleaded not guilty to the hacking charges.)

The trial is expected to run for several more months. It is now in its second month, and the prosecution is still presenting its arguments. This is a complicated undertaking, in part because of the multiple defendants and multiple charges relating to phone hacking, computer hacking, paying off public officials and perverting the course of justice.

In addition to Mr. Coulson and Ms. Brooks, there are six other defendants, among them Charlie Brooks, Ms. Brooks’s husband, who has been accused of conspiring with her to destroy evidence.

More trials are expected to follow. What began as an investigation into the illegal interception of voice mail messages has grown into a sprawling octopus of a case, with law-enforcement strands stretching in many directions and involving more than 160 police officers and staff members; at least 1,000 likely victims from politics, sports, show business and the media; and millions of emails and other documents.

It is far too early to say how the case will end; the defendants’ lawyers have not started presenting their arguments. But on the surface, at least, Mr. Coulson looks to be in a worse position than Ms. Brooks. While prosecutors have already introduced email and voice mail messages that they say directly link Mr. Coulson to phone hacking, they have not yet presented similar evidence in the case of Ms. Brooks.

She and her husband seem more vulnerable to the charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The prosecution contends that they illegally removed files from the office and tried to discard a laptop that potentially contained evidence in the case.

As for Mr. Coulson, even when this case is finished, his woes will not be over. Whether or not he is convicted, he faces a second trial in Scotland, which has a different legal system from England’s and a reputation for being tough on English journalists. He stands accused there of committing perjury while testifying in the trial of a Scottish politician who, among other things, claimed his phone had been hacked.

In that trial, Mr. Coulson repeatedly declared that there was no phone hacking going on at the News of the World.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fox News Paid Ousted Exec $8 Million In 'Hush Money': Gawker

The Huffington Post | By Jack Mirkinson

Posted: 12/09/2013 4:17 pm EST


We now know what it reportedly takes to keep a fired Fox News executive from spilling the beans on all the juicy inner workings at the network: about $8 million.

That's the figure that Gawker said Brian Lewis, the ousted former consigliere to Roger Ailes, was paid by Fox News in a recently uncovered settlement.

Gawker, which reported the figure on Monday, described the payment as "hush money." The site's report is just the latest in a long-running story of intrigue inside one of the most secretive and cutthroat companies in the media industry.

Lewis, who was Ailes' right-hand-man for years before falling out with him, was clearly a potential threat to Fox News and News Corp; as his lawyer told the media in a statement in June, "Roger Ailes and Newscorp have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis."

News Corp has a history of giving its executives a big payout when they leave under something of a cloud; former British newspaper chief Rebekah Brooks, for instance, was paid a whopping $17.6 million when she resigned from the company

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Murdoch’s own newspaper calls him ‘evil’

Published time: December 11, 2013 16:41
It appears that even employees of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s own publications don’t too much care for the cantankerous octogenarian — and they’re not half bad at puzzles, either.

That’s at least the determination that many readers of Australia’s largest newspaper made this week after catching a curious secret message of sorts in the Sunday Telegraph.

It took a few days for anyone to notice, but an “animals of Indonesia”-themed word search puzzle in the children’s section of this weekend’s edition contained more than just the hidden names of regional residents like the weasel and orangutan: within the game were the letters “LIVESIHCODRUM” all in a row.

When written in reverse from backwards to forwards, that cipher spells out “MURDOCH IS EVIL,” a not-so-nice-message some say was intended for the paper’s embattled publisher.

The clue was first spotted by reporters on Tuesday, and the Sunday Telegraph has so far stayed mum on the issue, refusing to offer comment to other publications.

One competitor had something to say, however: Australian publication The Sydney Morning Herald. After the message was spotted, the administrator of the SMH Twitter account announced, “Someone's been having some fun in the Sunday Telegraph.”

Others were quick to point out the puzzle and use it as an opportunity to lampoon Murdoch, the 82-year-old mogul whose media empire and reputation alike have been relentlessly under attack in recent years for a number of mishaps. Just this week, in fact, it was reported that Brian Lewis — a former public relations executive at the Murdoch-owned television network Fox News — was paid $8 million to keep quiet about the inner workings of that organization upon his exit.

The meant-to-be-elusive operations of other entities under Murdoch’s News Corp group — which maintains control of papers like The New York Post and Wall Street Journal — haven’t been as secretive, however. Only two months ago a handful of former execs at the corporation’s News of the World paper pleaded guilty for involvement in a controversial phone hacking scandal. Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of The Sun, is currently on trial so a jury can determine what role if any she had in the escapade.

Meanwhile, questions are being asked of not just Brooks, but of the Telegraph’s puzzle writers.

“So was it a mistake? A coincidence?” the Herald’s Tim Elliott asked of the word puzzle in an article published on his paper’s website this Tuesday. “Is a ‘LIVESIHCODRUM’ a new Indonesian species? Or was Harry the Dog trying to tell us something?”

For those unfamiliar with the anamorphic canine, Harry the Dog is the “Newshound” mascot that appears in the Sunday Telegraph alongside the word search puzzle. As for “HCODRUM,” preliminary reports suggest that could very well be the name of the only non-exist dinosaur in the world.

Edited by Steven Gaal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Prosecutor Says Kate Middleton’s Phone Was Hacked


The New York Times

December 19, 2013

LONDON — A prosecutor in a high-profile trial accused Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid on Thursday of hacking into the voice mail of the Duchess of Cambridge when she was known as Kate Middleton before her marriage to Prince William, second in line to the throne.

Transcripts read in court by the prosecutor, Andrew Edis, quoted the prince as saying “Hi, baby, it’s me” in one voice mail and referring to her as “babykins.”

The transcripts were discovered during a police investigation into the phone hacking that convulsed Mr. Murdoch’s British tabloid newspaper empire after disclosures about its scope in 2011. The News of the World closed that year after the scandal erupted.

The recordings were said to have been found in the belongings of Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator employed by The News of the World who served a jail term in 2007 for hacking royal phones.

While there had been earlier accusations that phones used by members of the royal family had been hacked, the latest disclosure is certain to be seen as a bombshell as prosecutors press an array of charges against two former top Murdoch executives, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, and five other people.

The messages were said by the prosecution to have been intercepted in 2006 while William was attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, five years before the couple married in 2011.

Mr. Edis said messages left for Prince Harry, William’s younger brother, had also been intercepted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Australian media bid to justify spying angers Indonesia

Dec 20, 2013


Mike Head

20 December 2013

A provocative attempt last weekend by the Australian, a Murdoch newspaper, to legitimise US-backed Australian spying on Indonesia’s political elite has further inflamed tensions between Canberra and Jakarta.

Jakarta last month suspended cooperation with Canberra in three areas—military exercises, intelligence exchanges and interception of refugee boats—after documents leaked by former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA‘s partner, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), targeted the phones of Yudhoyono’s inner circle in 2009.

In a front-page report on Saturday, the Australian asserted that the tapping of the mobile phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and senior political associates was “part of a deliberate and calculated strategy to learn more about the shifting balance of power inside Jakarta’s ruling elite.”

The report, citing unnamed intelligence sources, was in all likelihood orchestrated by the Australian government, impatient to restore relations with Jakarta. The basic premise of the article was that Yudhoyono’s wife was a political figure and therefore a legitimate target of intelligence gathering.

Citing a Wikileaks cable from the US Embassy in Jakarta, the Australian claimed the ASD (then called the Defence Signals Directorate) targeted Yudhoyono’s wife’s cell phone because “she had become the single most influential adviser to Yudhoyono and was thought to be hatching a presidential succession plan for her eldest son.”

Whether or not Yudhoyono’s wife functioned as a presidential adviser does not justify the illegal surveillance operation on her, the president and eight other top politicians and officials. Not surprisingly, the exposure, coming on top of other Snowden leaks showing there is an electronic listening post in the Australian embassy in Jakarta, provoked widespread public anger.

The Australian’s other justification for the spying was even more inflammatory. According to the newspaper: “Canberra wanted to learn more about the relationship between the presidential palace and Islamic groups at a time when three Australians had been killed in the twin hotel bombings in Jakarta in July 2009 and notorious bomber Noordin Mohamad Top was still on the run.”

This insinuation of a possible link between Yudhoyono and terrorists—seeking to connect the surveillance to the so-called “war on terror”—is both politically incendiary and absurd. Yudhoyono, a willing partner in the “war on terror,” could hardly be criticised for having relations with “Islamic groups”—most Indonesians are Muslim.

On Monday, the Jakarta Post published comments by two of Yudhoyono’s aides, who reacted angrily to the Australian report. Teuku Faizasyah, presidential spokesman for foreign affairs, said the article was an attempt to justify wiretapping. He commented: “The president has read the article but he did not take it seriously, because it does not have a grain of truth in it.”

Yudhoyono spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha told the Jakarta Post: “The attempt to justify [the tapping] is stupid. Phone tapping is illegal. If your phone was being tapped, you would feel uncomfortable, wouldn’t you? Haven’t they ever read about the regulations on freedom, privacy and human rights?”

This response points to the political difficulties posed for the Yudhoyono administration by the popular hostility to the ongoing spying revelations. The Jakarta Post reported that “many people” in Indonesia believed that the Australian’s revelations “could put the progress toward the normalisation of Jakarta-Canberra relationship in jeopardy.”

Last weekend, following the Australian’s story, Prime Minister Tony Abbott publicly stepped up the pressure on Jakarta, blaming the Indonesian government for increased arrivals of refugee boats. “There’s no doubt that the suspension of co-operation by the Indonesian authorities has been unhelpful,” the prime minister declared. “I think it’s high time that that co-operation was resumed.”

Significantly, the Australian’s coverage, which was accompanied by an editorial entitled, “Our spies acted responsibly,” went beyond the immediate dispute with Jakarta. Although it did not say so explicitly, it essentially asserted the right of the Australian intelligence apparatus, as part of the global US surveillance network, to monitor any government in the region.

The newspaper made it clear that the Indonesian spying was coordinated with the NSA, and approved at the highest levels in Canberra. According to the Australian, “the US National Security Agency is believed to have been aware of the surveillance and supportive of it” and the decision to tap the phones was “endorsed by relevant Australian cabinet ministers and fully reported to the then prime minister Kevin Rudd.”

Previous NSA documents, also leaked by Snowden, revealed that US and Australian diplomatic missions, not just in Jakarta, but throughout the Asia-Pacific, host ASD and NSA listening posts, monitoring the conversations of millions of people, as well as government leaders. (See: “NSA spying revelations exacerbate Australian-Indonesian tensions”)

This mass surveillance has nothing to do with protecting ordinary people from terrorism. As well as serving other US and Australian economic and political interests, the ongoing spying on Indonesia is particularly bound up with the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia to counter China’s rising influence. The Indonesian archipelago is critical to Washington, not just because of its immense natural resources and huge population. It contains key maritime “choke points,” such as the Malacca Strait, that would be blockaded in the event of a war with China.

Two weeks ago, Abbott bluntly declared that Australia‘s US-backed surveillance operations would continue in Indonesia. He directly contradicted statements by the Indonesian and Australian foreign ministers, Marty Natalegawa and Julie Bishop—following intensive talks to try to resolve the diplomatic rift—that Canberra had agreed not to spy on Indonesian leaders in the future.

The Australian’s latest offensive has heightened the quandary facing Yudhoyono. A former Suharto-era military general, he has long maintained close relations with the US and Australia. But, like other governments in the region, his administration has sought to balance between its military and security ties to the US and growing economic dependence on China. Yudhoyono has also had to cope with the widespread public anger over the spying exposure.

In his initial reaction to the spying revelations last month, Yudhoyono criticised both Washington and Canberra and declared that their actions had “certainly damaged the strategic partnership with Indonesia.” (See: “Indonesian president threatens “strategic partnership” with US-Australia over spying affair”)

That threat has not been repeated, and the US role was not mentioned in Yudhyono’s spokesmen’s latest remarks. Nevertheless, Jakarta’s ongoing suspension of cooperation with Australia underscores the sharp tensions and potential conflicts generated by the Obama administration’s aggressive turn against China, and Australia‘s key role in that confrontation.

With permission

Edited by Steven Gaal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Moment Charlie Brooks 'hid laptop evidence from police while Rebekah was being interviewed by police'

  • Charlie Brooks allegedly shown on CCTV hiding a jiffy bag and laptop
  • Race horse trainer seen going into garage with items, disappearing behind a column and coming back empty handed
  • Security head Mark Hanna later picks computer and bag, court hears
  • Police searching the flat later seen leaving with large boxes
  • Rebekah was in custody at Lewisham Police Station at the time
  • Police later handed a briefcase and laptop bag found behind bins, jury told

By Lucy Crossley

PUBLISHED: 11:40 EST, 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:25 EST, 14 January 2014

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2539298/Rebekah-Brooks-husband-filmed-hid-laptop-evidence-police-interviewed-police.html#ixzz2qPqqpiEc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

News of the World reporter hacked phones a thousand times, he tells court

Dan Evans tells Old Bailey that when he arrived at paper he was given a list of celebrities including Simon Cowell and Cilla Black


A former reporter at the News of the World has told how he hacked phones a thousand times after he was handed a list of celebrity numbers when he joined the paper in 2005, the Old Bailey has heard.

Dan Evans, who has pleaded guilty to intercepting voice messages at the News of the World, also told the phone-hacking trial on Monday about the "kerching moment" when he met NoW editor Andy Coulson and mentioned how he had hacked phones at the Sunday Mirror in the past.

He said: "I told him about my background, the sort of stories I had been doing. Almost the sort of stuff I had been through before."

Following prompting by the other News of the World journalist at the meeting Evans said he told Coulson: "I got on to voicemails and interception and I told him I had a lot of commercially sensitive data in my head and how things worked at the Sunday Mirror and I could bring him big exclusive stories cheaply which was the kerching moment. Bring exclusive stories cheaply equals job."

Evans said that at the News of the World he was given cash to buy pay-as-you-go phones that were nicknamed "burners". These, he explained, were phones used for "illicit activities" and would be destroyed or "burned" after two to three months.

Asked how often he hacked between his start date on the paper in January 2005 and the arrest of the paper's then royal editor, Clive Goodman, for hacking-related offences in August 2006, Evans replied: "Probably most days, there might have been the odd lull."

Evans has also pleaded guilty to hacking phones while at the Sunday Mirror.

He is the first journalist to plead guilty to hacking phones while working for a paper other than the News of the World.

The journalist told the jury that he started hacking phones after he was made a staff reporter at the Sunday Mirror and carried out this activity for about "a year and a half".

Evans, who has pleaded guilty to hacking phones at the News of the World up to 2010, described how "there was an explicit lockdown in the dark arts" following Goodman's arrest and there had been a gap of "years and years" before he started again.

He said he stopped using the burner phones and just starting using the company phones. "It was just easier. The culture there was pretty blasé about this kind of thing bizarrely."

When Evans started at the News of the World, his new boss handed him a list of hundreds of celebrity numbers including those of Simon Cowell, Cilla Black and Zoe Ball.

Evans said he was given the numbers "because he wanted me to hack the interesting names on it".

He had "a crack" at getting into around 100 of them, but with repeat calls to voicemails included, he probably hacked phones "1,000 [times] plus, more".

Evans was also given cash to buy "burner" phones.

He explained: "They were called burner phones because after a while I'd burn them."

Evans told how he learned the practice of "pretext blagging", which involved ringing a mobile phone operator or another company and impersonating a staff member from credit control or a similar department.

He told the jury that "pretty much any private data" was available "on demand" at the News of the World including mobile phone numbers, mobile phone bills, credit card numbers, medical records and tax records.

Evans explained how he would ring the voicemail numbers on one phone and then count to three and ring it again on another phone to try and "trick" the target handset into going onto voicemail without alerting the owner.

He said he had learned some hacking etiquette at the Sunday Mirror where he was told "don't leave footprints". This meant he would never listen to messages that had not been played by the owner, but he would return later to pick them

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andy Coulson shouted 'brilliant' after hearing Sienna Miller tape, jury told

Ex-News of the World reporter tells phone-hacking trial that editor became 'animated' after hearing message for Daniel Craig

· By Lisa O'Carroll


· theguardian.com, Tuesday 28 January 2014 07.21 EST


Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson shouted "brilliant" after listening to an intimate voicemail message left on James Bond actor Daniel Craig's phone by Sienna Miller, the phone-hacking trial has heard.

Coulson then instructed the reporter who had hacked Craig's phone to make a dummy tape in order to conceal the origin of the recorded voicemail, in which Miller declared her love for the James Bond star, the court was told on Tuesday.

Dan Evans, a former News of the World and Sunday Mirror journalist who has pleaded guilty to intercepting voicemail messages, told the Old Bailey that Coulson became "very animated" and shouted "brilliant" when he heard the message.

Evans said Coulson listened to the recording after the reporter had intercepted an intimate voicemail left by Miller on Craig's phone, which appeared to show that they were having an affair at a time in 2005 when she was going out with Jude Law: "Hi, it's me. I can't speak, I'm at the Groucho with Jude. I love you."

Andy Coulson listened to a voicemail message left by Sienna Miller for Daniel Craig, the phone-hacking trial has heard.

He added that Coulson told him to make a copy of the message, stick it in a Jiffy bag, and send it to the front gate at the News of the World's offices in Wapping, east London.

Coulson said security staff at the front gate "would then ring up and say this has been sent in anonymously", according to Evans. He told the jury that a colleague collected the Jiffy bag and came back to the office, expressing mock surprise.

Evans said he later went to Craig's London home to confront him about the affair with Miller and the actor denied it.

The court heard that the News of the World ran a story with Evans's byline on 8 October 2005 over three pages revealing the affair.

Evans was asked who else knew about phone hacking at the News of the World. He listed 10 names including Coulson, former news editor James Weatherup and eight others who cannot be identified for legal reasons. Weatherup has pleaded guilty to a phone hacking conspiracy, the jury has heard.

Coulson denies a charge of conspiring to intercept communications.

Evans told the court he would like to apologise to all the people whose privacy he infringed.

"Andy wanted to hear the tape," Evans told the court describing how another journalist on the paper was also in the vicinity when it was played.

"I do not know whether I played it to both of them at the same time. Certainly Andy was there … and I played the tape a couple of times and listened to it," Evans said.

Evans continued: "Andy got very animated." He told the jury: "Everybody was having a bit of an adrenaline kick."

He said another journalist on the paper then grabbed him by the elbow and congratulated him. "You're a company man now Dan."

"He [Coulson] wanted to preserve the tape but not in the original recording. So he said to me basically, 'We need to make a copy of the tape, stick it in a Jiffy bag, have it send down to the front gate [where security worked] and have them ring up and say this has been handed in anonymously," Evans said.

Evans went on to tell the court that he made the copy of the tape using two dictaphones and that some time afterwards the Jiffy bag was dispatched to the courier desk at the front gate. Another News of the World colleague then walked into the office "with a mock surprise and said 'Hey, look what I have'".

The former News of the World reporter, whom the jury heard has pleaded guilty to three other charges and become a prosecution witness, destroyed the original tape.

Earlier the jury were told how Evans had used what was described as the "double tap" method of hacking phones – using a combination of two phones to trigger voicemail of the target's phone.

He had told how journalists on the paper would get the "proverbial rocket" if they came in on a Tuesday morning, the start of the week on the Sunday tabloid, without stories.

Before hacking Craig's phone, Evans had been sent a "monstrous" email from a colleague advising him that if he didn't "come up with a front-page story you may as well jump off a cliff".

Evans went home "feeling terrorised". He had been confronted by the colleague, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who had said to him: "Your USP [unique selling point] is the phone hacking … I suggest you xxxxing well get on with some more."

The jury was shown a police document of call data related to Evans "double taps", which showed hacks or attempt hacks of the phones of Cilla Black, Sir Trevor McDonald, the agent of footballer Steven Gerrard, Kate Moss's PA, Ian Monk, the PR for Wayne Rooney, Rhys Ifans, Kerry Katona and interior designer Kelly Hoppen.

Evans said he got rumbled when he hacked Hoppen's phone.

Coulson, a former communications director for David Cameron, and Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News International, are among seven people on trial for offences related to a phone-hacking conspiracy, paying public officials for stories and alleged perversion of the course of justice. All deny the charges.

Evans also told the Old Bailey jury on Tuesday how he destroyed all evidence of his illicit activities on the day that the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman was arrested in 2006.

He said there was a "palpable sense of shock" in the office that day and described how he went to his desk and proceeded to rip the ribbon out of micro-cassette recordings he had made of intercepted voicemail messages.

Evans added that he met another journalist on the paper in the office lift on the day Goodman and the paper's private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were arrested.

His colleague, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: "'No more hokey stuff', hokey being a reference to voicemail stuff."

He said: "I went upstairs. There was a palpable sense of shock. I proceeded to get rid of all the evidence I could get my hands on. This included voicemail recordings. I destroyed them – they were on micro-cassettes … I took each of them and sucked the ribbon out and snapped it into little bits and stuck it into a big blue recycling bin in the office."

Evans said he also destroyed records of mobile phone call data of people he had targeted and shredded them, as well as ripping up notebooks in case they had any record of hacking.

He told the court that he put the lists of celebrity pin codes that he had into an envelope and "wrapped it up in black gaffer tape, took it home and stuck it into a mate's loft".

Years later he retrieved the list and in "a fairly foolish moment of madness" used the list and tried to hack Hoppen's phone. She had already reset her pin and the hack failed.

The trial continues

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Create New...