News of the World phone hacking plot traces to Rupert Murdoch himself, cops claim
Andy Coulson, former editor of the paper, was found guilty last week of conspiring to hack into voicemail messages to generate front-page news at the now defunct Sunday tabloid — and following that verdict, Murdoch was put on notice that Scotland Yard detectives want to interview him as a suspect.
BY BILL HUTCHINSON
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, June 30, 2014
In the May 18, 2012, letter to Murdoch’s lawyer, Scotland Yard informed the billionaire and his henchmen that police were probing whether they were in cahoots with the corruption. The letter, obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Co.’s Four Corners program, was sent six weeks before Murdoch split his company in two — distancing his moneymaking entertainment properties from his print publications.
The probe into whether corporate charges are warranted in the case that has scandalized Fleet St. journalism appears to have been ratcheted up since Andy Coulson, the former editor of Murdoch’s News of the World, was convicted of phone hacking last week. Following Coulson’s verdict, Murdoch was put on notice that Scotland Yard detectives want to interview him as a suspect.
The sentencing hearing for Coulson and four others kicked off Monday with a prosecutor branding them as Svengalis of a criminal enterprise.
Coulson and former News of the World newsdesk editors Greg Miskiw, James Weatherup and Neville Thurlbeck sat in the London courtroom dock, all found guilty of phone hacking. They were joined by Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator hired by the tabloid to tap phones and score news scoops.
Coulson headed the tabloid during a “golden period” for hacking, Edis said.
The prosecutor scoffed at initial claims made by Murdoch’s News International that the scandal was limited to a “rogue reporter.”
The list included Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, James Bond actor Daniel Craig and actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller.
Defense attorney Gavin Millar had the audacity to counter that Mulcaire thought he was helping the police by hacking the voicemails of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old girl kidnapped and murdered in 2002.
Coulson — who became British Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications director after leaving News of the World — and his co-defendants are to be sentenced Friday. They each face two years in jail.
Edis revealed Coulson would be retried on charges he bribed police for royal phone directories — a count on which the jury was deadlocked.
Edis said officials were mulling whether to force Coulson to reimburse taxpayers for the $1.3 million spent on prosecuting the case.
Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO of News International who ran News of the World from 2000 to 2003, was acquitted last week of all charges connected to the phone hacking scandal.