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Rupert Murdoch and the Corruption of the British Media

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In Vanity Fair’s March issue, Mark Seal uncovers the truth about the close relationship between Wendi Deng, third wife to media titan Rupert Murdoch, and married former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In an excerpt from the story, available on stands today, Seal reveals how the secrecy surrounding their intimacy quickly unraveled—first with the help of Murdoch’s loyal, observant staff, and later through a steamy, lovelorn missive.


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Tony Blair advised Rebekah Brooks on phone-hacking scandal, court hears

Former prime minister suggested setting up 'Hutton style' inquiry, according to email from former News International chief

Read Rebekah Brooks's email to James Murdoch in full (PDF)


· By Lisa O’Carroll

theguardian.com, Wednesday 19 February 2014 07.45 EST

Tony Blair advised Rebekah Brooks to launch a "Hutton style" inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World at the height of the scandal over the issue, according to an email that has emerged at the Old Bailey trial.

The revelation emerged in an email that was read to the jury in the hacking trial on Wednesday, and followed what Brooks said was an hour-long phone call.

According to the email, sent the day after the News of the World's final issue and six days before Brooks was arrested, Blair also told her he was "available" to her and Rupert and James Murdoch as an "unofficial adviser" on a "between us" basis.

The advice was said to have been given on 11 July 2011 and contained in an email she sent at 4.20pm to James Murdoch, the then executive chairman of News International.

According to Brooks's note, Blair advised her to set up an "independent" inquiry, suggesting it could have "outside counsel, Ken Macdonald [the former director of public prosecutions], a great and good type".

He said the inquiry would be "Hutton style" – a reference to Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death of David Kelly – and would "clear" her, but warned that "shortcomings" would have to be accepted as a result of the report.

According to the email the advice was given in an hour-long phone conversation. Blair advised her to "tough up" and not to make any "rash short-term solutions as they only give you long-term headaches." He also told her to "keep strong" and advised her to take "sleeping pills".

Prosecutor Andrew Edis read out the entire email exchange between Brooks and James Murdoch to the jury as part of the formal conclusion of the Crown's case.

After finishing in the email he turned to the jury to simply say "Well, that's that" before moving on to the next piece of evidence.

Brooks told James Murdoch in the email: "I had an hour on the phone to Tony Blair" and then proceeded to outline the points he had allegedly made in the conversation.

"1. Form an independent unit that has an outside junior counsel, Ken Macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal counsel, proper fact checkers etc in it. Get them to investigate me and others and publish a Hutton style report," she said.

"2. Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over.

"3. Keep strong and definitely sleeping pills. Need to have clear heads and remember no rash short term solutions as they only give you long term headaches.

"4. It will pass. Tough up.

"5. He is available for you, KRM [Rupert Murdoch] and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us," she wrote.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Hacking trial: Rebekah Brooks 'suggested blaming fellow executives for phone hacking'

In an email the former News International chief executive officer sent to her boss James Murdoch suggested blaming Les Hinton and Colin Myler, court hears

By Martin Evans

The Telegraph

3:35PM GMT 19 Feb 2014

Rebekah Brooks suggested publishing a report into the phone hacking scandal that blamed two of her fellow executives, Les Hinton and Colin Myler, a court has heard.

In an email the former News International chief executive officer sent to her boss James Murdoch, entitled Plan B, she suggested a strategy that would “vindicate” her position but “slam Les, Colin etc”.

Details of the alleged plan emerged during the phone hacking trial and were contained in an email exchange between Mrs Brooks and Mr Murdoch that was shown to the jury.

The email was sent on July 8 2011 as the phone hacking scandal was engulfing News International.

In the email she suggested the company deliberate leak an internal announcement from Mr Murdoch about its response to phone hacking revelations.

In the email shown to the jury, she wrote: "A thought … and a Les situation could play well into this even if it was at a later date. Ie result of report when published would slam Les, Colin [Myler, News of the World editor] etc and it will vindicate my position (or not)."

Mr Hinton was the former chief executive of News International who left the company at the end of 2007 to run Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal in New York.

Mr Myler was the editor of the News of the World when the paper closed in 2011 in response to the phone hacking scandal.

The email went on: “Something like this as an internal announcement from you that gets leaked.

“In 2007 - news international accepted the conclusion of the police investigation into the phone hacking scandal. We were wrong to do so as the new robust criminal investigation has emphatically proved.

“Our internal investigations were woeful and limited and we failed to hold the right people accountable.

“The result was the very sad closure of an outstanding newspaper whose reputation was irreparably tarnished by the actions of a few. We are committed to retaining as many jobs as possible.

“Today James Murdoch announces Will Lewis promotion to deputy CEO. Both he and Rebekah Brooks will report directly to him.

“The management and standards committee chaired by Will Lewis will directly to report to JRM. Phone hacking,. police payments, Public inquiry an day to day oversights of the criminal investigations.

“Concurrently outside counsel Olswang will review all previous internal investigations and investigate every new allegation into the NOTW over the last decade. (Includes my editorship)

“We will not be on trial by the meda whose previous practices were...

“NI will publish the findings of this report and where there were serious failings or errors of judgement those culpable will be held accountable and leave the company.

“What do you think? We can go further and say until the report is published Will takes my place on TNHL board which is governance?

“Will goes on andrew Marr??

“I am ring fenced clearly and properly.

“It will be written as slippery slope for me but I hardly have a reputation left.”

The prosecution has concluded its case and the defence is expected to open tomorrow.

The trial continues.

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Rebekah Brooks 'unaware of Milly Dowler hacking until nine years later'

Ex-editor says she never approved phone hacking while at the helm of the paper, and did not know at that time it was illegal

· By Lisa O'Carroll


· theguardian.com, Tuesday 25 February 2014 08.05 EST


Rebekah Brooks was not aware that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked until nine years after the event, the Old Bailey has heard.

The former News of the World editor also told the court she did not know phone hacking was illegal until 2006 and conceded that she might have sanctioned it had their been justification, such as an investigation into paedophiles.

However, she said this was a "hypothetical" and she never did sanction any voicemail hacking.

Brooks said she was not aware that phone hacking was illegal when she was editor of the News of the World from 2000 to 2003.

She said that, while editor, she was not aware of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which outlawed hacking in 2000 after a security flaw was exposed in the press.

The first she became aware of the act was in 2006, she said, the year Mulcaire and the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman were arrested.

She said she did not sanction hacking while she was editor, but added she might have done so if confronted with a hypothetical scenario such as an investigation into paedophiles where she "may" have authorised it.

Brooks cited a journalist on another newspaper, which she did not name, who had written at the time how he had hacked someone's phone to prove something about an arms dealer.

She told the court that she first knew that it was possible to access other people's voicemail because of a factory default setting in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Her counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, asked her if she "had ever sanctioned someone to access a voicemail as a technique," and she replied "No".

Brooks said there may have been circumstances where hacking might have been justifiable, but she would never have thought that was the case. "I did not think it would have been a particular useful thing to do," she added.

She said she would have thought hacking would have been a "serious" breach of privacy and she would not have condoned it.

Brooks told the court she did not know anyone on the NoW had tasked Glenn Mulcaire to hack the murdered schoolgirl's phone in April 2002, weeks after she had gone missing.

Laidlaw asked her if she had anything to do with the tasking of Mulcaire. "No, I didn't," she told the jury.

She responded "No" when asked if she was told about it afterwards in 2002.

Asked when she first heard that Dowler's phone had been hacked she said: "The moment when I first learned the News of the World had been responsible for accessing her voicemail was 4 July 2011 in the afternoon."

That was the day the Guardian broke the story online, triggering a wave of revulsion around the country.

Brooks told the court that she felt "shock, horror" when she learned of the hacking.

She said it was "abhorrent" to hear that someone had deleted her voicemails and given her parents Bob and Milly Dowler "false hope" that she was still alive.

Brooks said "we now know" that the claim that Dowler's voicemails were deleted was not true, but added: "The essential fact that somebody from the News of the World asked someone to do that – my reaction would have been the same."

She told the court she had "no recollection of having any discussion" about the Milly Dowler story that appeared in the NoW on 12 April 2002 which mentioned her voicemails.

Brooks was on holiday with her then husband Ross Kemp in Dubai at the time and said she would have remembered if a big story concerning Dowler was being prepared by her deputy Andy Coulson who was at the helm at the time.

"I think I would remember if I had a call, if Andy had said to me 'we've found Milly Dowler'," she told the jury.

She said she had "didn't have any knowledge" that the News of the World had told Surrey police that they had accessed the schoolgirl's voicemail.

The jury has heard that Brooks had an on-off affair with Coulson but she said at the time they were not having a relationship.

Asked how her relationship was with Kemp at the time, she responded: "We were in a good place."

Of Coulson, she said: "Andy was always always a close friend."

Questioned if there was any physical intimacy, she shook her head and replied "No".

Earlier in the trial the prosecution had said it could be inferred that she would have discussed the Dowler story because of their relationship, which was exposed after the police found a draft love letter on her computer when her home was searched after her arrest.

The jury had previously also heard testimony from a member of the public, William Hennessy, who said he met Brooks in Dubai and claimed to have heard her saying she had to take a call about the "missing Surrey schoolgirl".

Brooks said she did not recall that. "I don't remember meeting him or saying that but it is possible I did," she said.

The court heard that the Dowler story was listed as the second item on the NoW's newslist the week she went missing, but although there were concerns that she may have been victim of a predatory paedophile, she was confident it was not a "Sarah's Law" scenario by the time she went to Dubai.

She told the jury she often had to curtail or cancel holidays when there was a big story and recalled doing so when the two schoolgirls were murdered in Soham.

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Rebekah Brooks 'decided not to help phone-hacking inquiry in 2006'

Former News of the World editor tells phone-hacking trial 'complexities on the corporate level' stopped her from being witness

Rebekah Brooks turned down a police request to help the original 2006 prosecution of phone hacking at the News of the World because of "complexities on the corporate level", an Old Bailey jury heard Wednesday.

Giving evidence for the fifth day in the phone-hacking trial, Brooks described the "startling" sequence of events after she heard on 8 August 2006 that police had arrested Clive Goodman and raided the NoW's office.

She had discussed the case with the chairman, Les Hinton, she said: "I think initially there was certainly concern about the investigation and what it would uncover and where it was going. It was all quite an anxious situation."

Soon, she said, she had discovered that police had also arrested a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, and that Mulcaire had worked for the NoW during her editorship between May 2000 and January 2003.

When police contacted her to tell her that Mulcaire had hacked her phone, she agreed to meet a detective, Keith Surtees, in the RAC Club. "I had a natural curiosity to find out what had happened to my own phone but of course, from a corporate point of view, I also wanted to find out where the police were in the investigation."

The result, the court heard, was that Brooks reported back to Les Hinton and Andy Coulson that police had identified more than a hundred victims of Mulcaire; believed the NoW had paid him £1m for his work; and had noticed that routinely he would speak to the paper immediately before and after accessing a target's voicemail.

She said the detective had asked if she would become a witness for the prosecution of Goodman and Mulcaire because she had been hacked with unusual frequency and consistency compared to other victims. Brooks had consulted Hinton and others about this. "We all agreed it would not be the right thing to do for me to make a formal complaint and go on to be a prosecution witness with the complexities that would cause on the corporate level since the private detective had worked for the News of the World."

She recalled that Goodman and Mulcaire had been jailed in January 2007 and that Coulson had resigned as editor of the NoW "although there was never any suggestion that he knew what these two people had been doing".

She went on to summarise public statements made by Hinton and by the new editor of the NoW, Colin Myler, to the effect that Goodman had acted alone in hacking phones and was "a rogue exception" on the paper.

Brooks then subsequently offered a job to the paper's royal editor, Goodman, even though he had been convicted of crime, because News International wanted to avoid what Hinton told her was "potential publicity nightmare" if Goodman went public with hacking allegations he was making against senior NoW journalists, she said. Brooks told the court that she had had no reason to believe him.

When Goodman was released from prison in March 2007, she said, he had been angry because he had been sacked and was planning to appeal to an employment tribunal and to identify others at the paper who, he alleged, had been involved in hacking. "It was pretty much everybody who had a senior role at the News of the World. He certainly named the editor, deputy editor, managing editor and executives on the news desk."

But she said : "I don't think anybody – me included – thought that the allegations Clive was making had any basis. It was as a result of being turned down on his challenge for dismissal."

After Hinton had warned of a "potential publicity nightmare" at any employment tribunal and so she had arranged to have lunch with Goodman – again at the RAC Club – where she had offered him a job at the Sun. The jury have been told that separately Brooks wrote to the Press Complaints Commission to tell them that any journalist who broke the law would face instant dismissal. She told the jury that Goodman had turned down her offer and that she believed he had settled his dispute with News International.

Brooks denies conspiring to intercept voicemail. The trial continues.

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Leveson inquiry: The spy, the judge and the ‘cover-up’

Former intelligence officer alleges inquiry buried evidence of high-level corruption between MPs, press and police

By Tom Harper

Investigations Reporter

The Independent

Sunday 02 March 2014


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Rebekah Brooks: NI's 'rogue reporter' defence shaky after 2009 revelations

Former News International chief tells phone-hacking trial that company's corporate line came from NoW editor Colin Myler

By Lisa O'Carroll

theguardian.com, Monday 3 March 2014 08.04 EST

Rebekah Brooks knew that News International's position in 2009 that phone hacking at the News of World was down to a "rogue reporter" was "shaky" after she was shown documents that eavesdropping on voicemails went beyond the royal household, the Old Bailey has heard.

She told the phone-hacking trial that the corporate position that the unlawful interception was down to a "rogue" reporter on the paper had "come from the News of the World editor Colin Myler".

The court heard that the Guardian article in July 2009 claimed News International had agreed a £1m out-of-court settlement with Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, whose phone had been hacked.

Within two weeks documents had emerged publicly that showed the News of the World had transcripts of 35 of Taylor's messages attached to an internal email from a reporter Ross Hindley marked "For Neville".

Brooks said she was shown this email before it emerged in public sometime in July 2009.

She said she showed that this showed "the sort of emphaticness of the company's statement that nobody else knew that Glenn Mulcaire was going was looking shaky after that because this was an email from someone at the News of the World".

Her defence counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, put it to her that the article reported that private investigator Mulcaire had hacked thousands of phones and that the company had agreed the deal with Taylor "to prevent details being made public".

Asked by Laidlaw if she now, in 2014, believed that Guardian article "to be true", Brooks responded: "Yes."

Asked if at the time she believed the article to be true, Brooks responded: "No I didn't."

Brooks said she did not think that the article supported her belief, now and then, that hacking did not took place during her editorship of the News of the World in 2000 and 2003.

She told the court she had received a briefing from police in 2006 following the arrest of Mulcaire that he had hacked between 100 and 110 people.

She said that nothing between the sentencing of Mulcaire and the paper's royal editor Clive Goodman in 2006 and the Guardian article in 2009 suggested anything different.

Goodman and Mulcaire were sentenced in January 2007; News International made a financial settlement with the paper's royal editor later that year and the matter of hacking was considered closed, the court heard.

Brooks said: "I was told they had settled with Clive but from May or June 2007 the entire subject almost went without any conversation."

Brooks was editor of the Sun in July 2009 when the Guardian article was published but was told she was to be promoted to chief executive in September that year.

She said she seemed to remember the article had suggested 4,000 people had been hacked, but she did not believe this to be true when she read it in 2009.

This was because she had received a briefing from police following Goodman's arrest suggesting the number of victims was a fraction of that when she met DCI Keith Surtees in 2006.

"He had said between 100 and 110 victims. Nothing since that moment in 2006 and the public statement [of rogue reporter], the Press Complaints Commission [investigation], the sentencing; nothing had shown to me that this was not the case," said Brooks.

The court heard of a second settlement with PR Max Clifford. He had been banned from dealing with the Sun and the News of the World by News International's chief executive Les Hinton in 2005, Brooks said, and the company was keen to bring him back into the fold.

"News of the World, at the time, had paid Max Clifford millions and millions with the history of 20-years plus," she said.

At the time she was being asked by the News of the World lawyer Tom Crone to meet Clifford to strike a deal. She said this was separate to any attempt by Clifford, who was also hacked by News of the World, to reach a settlement in respect of hacking.

The trial continues.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Rebekah Brooks denies covering up hacking as News International chief

Court hears Brooks was told by police in 2006 that News of the World hacking extended beyond the activities of its royal editor

Rebekah Brooks has denied "covering up" the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World when she became chief executive of News International in 2009.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said she must have known that hacking at the now-defunct tabloid had extended beyond the activities of the royal editor who had been sentenced for the crime in 2007 because she had received a private briefing from the police in September 2006 in which she learned that there were between 100 and 110 victims.

Brooks said it was true that she had been told by DCI Keith Surtees that there had been 100 to 110 victims and that she had passed that back to the company.

She was repeatedly asked if the company had made this information public in any statements but did not answer directly.

"They did not mention these other hacking victims?" said Edis.

Brooks replied "No, what they said was they needed between five and 10 [victims]", before being interrupted by Edis who said: "I'm talking about what News International said. The fact of the matter is you knew that from the time of speaking to DCI Surtees, that the whole truth had not emerged during the trial."

Brooks repeated what she had been told by DCI Surtees about there being 100 to 110 victims. She added: "I do not think I saw it like that."

Brooks was told by Surtees that among the victims were former culture secretary Tessa Jowell and Tracy Temple, a woman who was said to have an affair with Lord Prescott in 2006, the jury heard.

Earlier the trial heard that Brooks briefed the News of the World lawyer Tom Crone about the briefing when she returned from it.

She said she had been told she was also a victim.

Brooks said she believed that the police told her they had no evidence that anyone else at the NoW was involved in hacking of her phone.

"My view was, rightly or wrongly, because I imagine Mr Mulcaire was accessing my phone for personal [information]. I could not see how the News of the World would have a story about my personal life."

Edis put it to Brooks that the meeting with Surtees was as much an intelligence-gathering operation for the company as a briefing about the hacking of her personal phone.

"It's extremely important that you should find out, in the interests of News International, what the police were doing?" he said. Brooks responded: "Yes."

Jurors have heard Brooks was also asked to consider becoming a prosecution witness but after discussion with the then News International chief executive Les Hinton it was decided that would not be the right course of action and no formal complaint was made.

Brooks told jurors that she decided not to become a prosecution witness because it would "odd for the editor of the Sun to be a prosecution witness against a sister newspaper".

Edis put it to her: "In fact you knew that the first police inquiry proved to be rather superficial."

He added it was an "artificial process" because it left the public with the impression the activity was limited to hacking of the royal household and five other "lead victims" and did not extend to the 110 potential victims.

The court heard that News International described Goodman as a "rogue exception" at the paper and held that stance between 2007 and 2009, when Brooks was promoted to chief executive.

Brooks said that the "rogue reporter" position was not hers. "It was not my line, but it was News International's line which I inherited," she added.

She said she was aware that Goodman had threatened to name names and was involved in an appeal against his dismissal in 2007.

"Did you believe that News International's behaviour between 2007 and 2009 was acceptable?" Edis asked.

"At the time, yes, I did," Brooks said. "I had no reason to believe otherwise."

Edis then put it to her: "You carried on with the cover-up when you became chief executive."

Brooks responded: "No."

Earlier the jury heard that Brooks offered the News of the World's former royal editor a job after he was released from prison for phone hacking.

Brooks told jurors she made the offer to Goodman over lunch at the RAC Club in London's Pall Mall following several conversations with Hinton.

David Spens QC, for Goodman, put it to Brooks "You were asked to buy him off on behalf of the company." Brooks responded: "I was asked to offer him a job."

When he asked whether it was a bid to get to "shut up", she said the company wanted to avoid an "embarrassing" employment tribunal.

Brooks offered Goodman two jobs: a six-month contract to work on a royal supplement to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana; and an eight-month training contract.

He rejected both offers after settling with the company, the court heard. Brooks says she learned about this later from Hinton who did not disclose details because the deal was "confidential".

The trial continues.

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Phone hacking trial: Rebekah Brooks questioned over affair with deputy

Former News of the World editor tells court she and Andy Coulson had been close enough to share secrets

By Nick Davies

The Guardian, Thursday 6 March 2014 14.32 EST

Rebekah Brooks on Thursday acknowledged that she and Andy Coulson had been close enough to share secrets with each other during two periods when they are accused of conspiring to produce stories based on intercepted voicemails.

In tense cross-examination, Andrew Edis QC challenged Brooks over the meaning of a letter she wrote to Coulson in February 2004.

Edis suggested the letter showed that they had been having an affair and sharing secrets for the preceding six years, during which time they published stories about Milly Dowler and David Blunkett which, the crown claims, were generated by hacking phone messages.

Brooks repeatedly insisted that although she and Coulson had begun an affair in 1998, it had not continued for six years.

The affair had stopped and both of them had got on with their lives before it had resumed briefly in 2003. "I hadn't been sitting there like Miss Havisham for six years," she said.

At one point, Edis quoted part of the letter to Coulson in which she wrote: "I confide in you. I seek your advice."

He asked her: "That included work matters, didn't it?"

"It could have done."

"Confide means trust – trust people with your confidences. No?"


"And that would include secrets relating to work?"

"And emotional issues as well."

Edis then referred to another passage in the letter in which Brooks wrote: "For six years I have waited."

"It suggests doesn't it that the relationship had lasted six years?"

Brooks said that was not correct.

"You would be telling the truth when you were writing?"

"I was in a very emotional state when I wrote this letter."

"That's all the more reason why you would be telling the truth. It's your heart-felt anguish."


"Which is absolutely genuine."


He went on to repeat that the letter suggested they had had an affair for six years.

Brooks replied: "That's not true … Andy had got on with his life. I'm clearly saying that it has been six years since we had got together… I had gone out, got married, tried to have a baby, got on with my life.

"The emotional feeling that I had towards Andy obviously came out in the letter. But we didn't have an affair for six years. We were close friends, good friends."

Edis turned to the state of their relationship in April 2002, when the crown claims that Brooks and Coulson plotted to use voicemail intercepted from the phone of the missing Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Brooks was then editor of the News of the World but Coulson, her deputy, was editing the paper while she was on holiday in Dubai.

"At that time were you talking with him in that confidential way?"

"We were close friends."

"So you would trust each other?"

"I trusted him as a friend and as a deputy editor."

"If the deputy editor was committing a crime, he might not want the editor in normal circumstances to find out about it. But he might be able to tell the editor if he really trusted her."

Edis paused. "Was the relationship in April 2002 such that Mr Coulson could trust you with any confidence at all?"

"Yes," she whispered.

Edis then asked her about August 2004 when, the court has heard, Coulson, as editor of the News of the World, revealed an affair between David Blunkett and a woman whose name he withheld; and Brooks, as editor of the Sun, followed up the next day by naming the woman as Kimberly Quinn, publisher of the Spectator magazine.

The crown claims that Coulson obtained the story from messages which Blunkett had left on Quinn's phone and that he then passed her identity to Brooks.

Brooks has told the jury that she wrote her letter to Coulson in February 2004 after he had told her he wanted to end their second period of physical intimacy.

In the letter, she wrote that this meant that: "I can't discuss my worries, concerns, problems at work with you any more."

Edis put it to her that by August 2004, they were "back talking confidentially to each other by then?"

"We were certainly talking."

"But in that confidential way?"

"I think we were back to confiding, particularly on an emotional level by that stage."

Edis then showed her the billing record for a mobile phone which Coulson was using in August 2004 which showed that he had phoned Brooks immediately before he met Blunkett in Sheffield to tell him he planned to publish a story about his affair.

"Do you remember what he was saying to you?"

Brooks said she could not remember, that Coulson had often called or texted her at the beginning of the day. Edis said: "He is in Sheffield, going to see a cabinet minister. Surely he told you that."

"No. He didn't," she replied.

She went to say that she thought she had come up with Quinn's name after checking stories which had previously been published which mentioned that Quinn knew Blunkett and that, based on that suspicion, she had "taken a punt" and called Blunkett's special adviser, Huw Evans, to persuade him to confirm that she was right.

Edis said: "You would have to take a punt if you knew it was a phone-hacking story."

"I didn't know it was a phone-hacking story," she said.

"Didn't you?"

Brooks and Coulson deny conspiring to intercept communications. The trial continues.

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  • 2 weeks later...

NoW offered hacking reporter 'crude' deal to keep job by not spreading blame

Former royal editor told he would only be sacked if he said others were involved in phone hacking, Old Bailey told

By Lisa O'Carroll

theguardian.com, Wednesday 19 March 2014 12.34 EDT

The News of the World's former royal editor accused a company lawyer of offering a "crude carrot and stick" deal which would see him keep his job if he did not allege others were involved in phone hacking, the Old Bailey has heard.

Clive Goodman, testifying in the phone-hacking trial on Wednesday, also accused the News International lawyer of trying to "dictate lines of defence" following his arrest on suspicion of phone hacking in 2006.

Goodman said he found the lawyer's actions "inappropriate and just a bit shocking" and more "threatening" than the prosecution case lined up against him.

He claimed the News International lawyer had effectively ambushed him in a private legal meeting, telling him he would only be sacked if he said others on the paper were involved or knew about phone hacking.

Goodman produced a previously unseen email between himself and his lawyer, Henri Brandman, complaining about a News International lawyer who had gatecrashed a meeting he had had with his barrister in December 2006.

The meeting between Goodman and his lawyers – Brandman and counsel John Kelsy Fry, QC – had been arranged to discuss the case and the mitigation defence ahead of a meeting with the probation service and sentencing.

Goodman had pleaded guilty on 29 November to hacking the phones of members of the royal household but had specifically said the News International lawyer was only to be present at part of the meeting.

He told jurors that the News International lawyer arrived early and sat in on a discussion he had not been invited to.

"We got to the part of the meeting where I said I fully expected to be sacked by News of the World. At that point he interrupted and said that was not the case," Goodman said. "Again, he said it would only happen if you blame others, if you do that, you can't really expect Andy [Coulson, the editor] to take you back."

Following the meeting on 12 December 2006, Goodman fired off a letter to Brandman protesting at the News International lawyer's, behaviour describing his presence as "most unhelpful".

"He arrived while we were in full flow to deliver a fairly crude carrot and stick from the NoW," he wrote. "As the newspaper has no voice at our mitigation/sentencing hearing on January 26 I found the attempt to dictate lines of our defence highly inappropriate and just a bit shocking."

He continued: "I do not wish to see any NoW representative at future meetings or for them to receive updates on the progress of the case, or for them to sit with us on the day.

"I felt more threatened by the message he was asked to deliver today than I have been by much of the prosecution case."

Previously jurors heard that Kelsy Fry had advised Goodman that a judge might take "a positive view of someone standing up and taking responsibility for their actions". Goodman said this "echoed" advice he had been given by Brandman.

Goodman in the event pleaded guilty and did not implicate any others in his mitigation statement used ahead of sentencing.

He was sentenced to four months in prison on 26 January 2007. On 5 February that year he was sacked by the News of the World. "I learned of it in a phone call from my wife," he said.

He was released on a tag in late February and in March launched an appeal against his dismissal citing five reasons as to why it was unfair.

Among them was a claim that others on the paper had been hacking phones and had not been sacked, and that the editor and a News International lawyer had "promised on a number of occasions that I could come back to the newspaper if I did not implicate any other staff".

Goodman had an internal appeal hearing on 20 March 2007. He did not have legal representation but said there were "47 inaccuracies" in the notes taken of the meeting by News International and distributed to various parties. Some were so bad as to "reverse the truth" Goodman told jurors.

Little more than a week later he was invited to meet Rebekah Brooks, who was then editor of the Sun. She offered him a six-month contract to work on "bookzines" – glossy supplements on subjects including the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. He was offered £12,500 for the work but felt it was not a "serious job offer".

Goodman told the jury of a second internal hearing on 10 May with the company's human resources chief Daniel Cloke and the News of the World's new editor, Colin Myler. Again, he did not have legal representation but recorded the meeting covertly.

On 30 May 2007, he was formally notified that his appeal against his dismissal was rejected. He then discussed his situation with an employment specialist lawyer Tony Lorenzo, at Lewis Silkin.

Goodman settled with News International later in 2007 after being offered £140,000.

Four years later he was arrested again but told jurors that he gave a no comment interview because of leaks to the Guardian. He read about his pending arrest the night before. "It did not come as a great surprise to me that the police would be turning up the next day at dawn to arrest me."

He said when he was at the police station, he learned during a break that the Guardian had more details of the "green books", the royal telephone directories he was suspected of paying for and the amount he had supposedly paid for them.

"That doubly encouraged me not to give any kind of comment," said Goodman.

Goodman said he initially felt "very sore" about the way he had been treated by Coulson, who was his friend, but that he no longer felt hostile towards him. He said his negative feelings towards him faded in prison which he described as "a good place to think".

Goodman has not been charged with hacking offences but denies two other charges that he paid public officials to obtain royal telephone directories.

The trial continues

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Phone-hacking trial told of 'very ugly' cover-up after NoW royal editor's arrest

Clive Goodman's barrister says Andy Coulson and others used 'carrot and stick' approach to ensure silence on wider criminality

Clive Goodman was 'groomed' as the 'fall guy' for wider hacking at the News of the World, his barrister has told the phone-hacking trial.

A "very ugly" and "cynical" cover-up operation swung into action when the News of the World's royal editor was arrested for phone-hacking offences, the Old Bailey has heard.

Clive Goodman was being "groomed" as the "fall guy" for the wider hacking at the defunct tabloid back in 2006 and even told he could keep a job if he went to prison, his barrister, David Spens QC, has claimed.

Quoting US president Lyndon B Johnson's description of FBI chief Edgar J Hoover, Spens said it was as if the News of the World had decided it was "better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in".

In his closing speech Spens said that the editor at the time, Andy Coulson, and others adopted a "carrot and stick" approach to ensure his silence on the wider criminality at the paper.

"We say that the cover-up is a very ugly story.

"Mr Goodman was vulnerable. Promises and inducements were made to him. He was gong to have his legal expenses paid, he was suspended on full pay, and he was being offered the prospect he might return to work and he was, we suggest, being groomed to be the fall guy," said Spens.

He said it was a "somewhat shocking and cynical strategy of carrot and stick at the News of the World to ensure Mr Goodman's silence as to the extent of phone hacking."

Goodman was arrested in August 2006 on suspicion of phone hacking and a few months later decided to plead guilty to the offences, meaning there was no trial.

Spens told jurors that once Goodman was jailed, at the end of January 2007, his previous supporters abandoned him.

He was sacked and "discarded" after imprisonment and "the News of the World ship steamed on without him", said Spens.

Spens questioned claims by Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of the paper and co-defendant in the hacking trial, that he put the supportive arm of the company around Goodman in the months after his arrest.

He said Kuttner's visit to Goodman following his release from the police station that August was a "charade" and was a fact-finding mission designed to "pump" him for information about the police's case.

Spens said Coulson had a "golden opportunity" to dismiss Goodman after he not only admitted he had broken the Press Complaints Commission code of practice but "admitted to the world that he had committed a criminal offence".

He added: "Why didn't Coulson dismiss him? Answer: He couldn't take the risk of upsetting Mr Goodman.".

The jury was shown an email from a member of the editorial staff to Coulson about some questions which might be asked that will be difficult to "brush off" in the "long gap" between a potential statement about Goodman pleading guilty and his sentencing.

"So this is [the unnamed executive] about what Goodman could say between 28 November and sentencing. He had to be kept in line. "

The jury was also reminded of an email from Coulson to a News International executive about a potential press statement to be issued after Goodman's guilty plea.

In the first draft Coulson told the executive he would says he would "put in place additional measures" to ensure Goodman's offences were not repeated.

Spens said this suggested measures were already in place warning staff hacking was not tolerated. He said Coulson must have realised this as he said in an email sent a minute later that his proposed statement should actually say he had "put in place measures".

Spens told the jury that News International increased its severance settlement with Goodman from £50,000 to £140,000 plus legal costs after he launched an appeal against his dismissal.

There was a confidentiality clause and the "truth" about the true extent of hacking may "never have seen the light of day" were it not for the judge's decision to allow his charges be heard with Coulson's.

"Bad luck to Mr Coulson," Spens said, because it meant Goodman could be asked about hacking.

Coulson, Goodman and Kuttner deny all charges against them.

The trial continues.

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After 7 Months, British Hacking Case Heads to the Jury


The New York Times

LONDON — With one of Britain’s most riveting trials — a seven-month courtroom marathon that exposed the inner workings of the tabloid news media and the personal lives of two friends of the prime minister — nearing its conclusion, the judge gave this reminder to the jury: “No one is so powerful they can ignore the law.”

Among those on trial are Rebekah Brooks, who ran Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper empire until 2011, and one of her former deputy editors, Andy Coulson, who went on to become the chief spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain. While the case centers on allegations of hacking into the mobile phones of people in the news, it has also become a guided tour through the precincts of wealth and power in London.

Justice John Saunders has been offering jurors detailed instructions on how they should consider each count against the defendants since he began the process of summarizing the case last week. On Tuesday, he focused on allegations that evidence was hidden. The 11 jurors (one has had to abandon her duty for personal reasons) are expected to retire to consider their verdict on Wednesday.

Since October, Ms. Brooks and Mr. Coulson, former lovers and former editors of Mr. Murdoch’s weekly News of the World, have been denounced by prosecutors, defended by lawyers and dissected by the news media. They became the subject of the kind of salacious headlines they used to splash across their pages.

They face charges linked to the illegal interception of the voice mail messages of celebrities, royalty and, most controversially, a kidnapped teenager, who was later found dead. They are also accused of condoning payments to public officials for information and, in the case of Ms. Brooks, conspiring to conceal evidence from the police with the help of her husband, secretary and security chief. Seven defendants are on trial, all of whom deny all charges.

The trial has also become a test of whether Britain’s infamously aggressive tabloid culture — the six-figure prices paid for scoops, the scavenging in celebrity trash cans, the relentless invasion of privacy — can be tamed to prevent similar transgressions in the future. It has exposed the cozy ties among the news media, politicians and the police, and in particular the influence of Mr. Murdoch’s newspapers, which have dominated the industry in Britain for many years.

When he began his instructions to the jury last Wednesday, Justice Saunders warned the jurors not to be “dazzled” by the defendants.

“Some of those on trial enjoyed a lifestyle you can only dream of, not just in financial terms but influence they brought to bear,” Justice Saunders said. “They were friends of politicians; they are friends of the stars.”

“You do not envy them their success or be dazzled by it,” he said. “Respect their success, but everyone is subject to the law of the land.”

The jurors have up to a month to reach a decision, one that is expected to make its impact felt not just in newsrooms across the country but also on Downing Street. Mr. Cameron’s aides worry that the conviction of a formerly trusted adviser could revive questions about the prime minister’s judgment ahead of next year’s general election.

Many in the British establishment have been ensnared or embarrassed by the investigation, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who, according to evidence presented at the trial, offered to act as an “unofficial adviser” to Ms. Brooks and Mr. Murdoch. At least 1,000 people from politics, sports and the media, including Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, are believed to have had their phones hacked.

Indeed, the case had all the ingredients of a juicy tabloid story: tales of Mr. Cameron’s inviting Ms. Brooks to his birthday party; computers hidden in trash bags (along with pornography belonging to Ms. Brooks’s husband); and a steamy love letter read in court documenting the on-and-off intimacy between Ms. Brooks and Mr. Coulson. Prosecutors asserted that because of their relationship, if one of them knew about phone hacking, both were likely to have known.

The case centers on the practice of illegally intercepting voice mail messages remotely, which took place from 2000 to 2006 and took advantage of the fact that many people never changed the default access codes provided by cellphone operators.

In 2007, a private investigator employed by The News of the World, Glenn Mulcaire, and the tabloid’s editor overseeing coverage of the royal family, Clive Goodman, went to jail after pleaded guilty to intercepting voice mail messages. Mr. Mulcaire has admitted targeting the cellphone of Milly Dowler, the teenager who was killed, in April 2002 when Ms. Brooks was editor and Mr. Coulson her deputy. Several former news editors have also admitted to being aware of the practice.

The jury members now need to decide whether they believe Ms. Brooks and Mr. Coulson, who say they were unaware of the phone hacking at the time. Ms. Brooks has maintained that she learned about the hacking of Ms. Dowler’s phone only when the story broke in The Guardian in 2011.

Whatever the verdict — and it could be followed by appeals — the case has already left its mark, said Roy Greenslade, a journalism professor at City University in London. News editors have been humbled, and politicians put on notice, he said.

“After years of Wild West activity the sheriff has ridden into town,” Professor Greenslade said. “If you look at the tabloid end of the British press, it’s cleaner than it’s ever been before.”

Correction: June 10, 2014

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the day that Justice John Saunders told the jury, “No one is so powerful they can ignore the law.” He said that last Wednesday, not Tuesday

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