News International Executives to Contradict James Murdoch's Evidence Tuesday

10:52 AM PST 09/02/2011 by Mimi Turner
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Parliament's Culture Committee will hear from former News of The World editor Colin Myler and legal manager Tom Crone Sept. 6 as a fifteenth person is arrested.

LONDON -- The two former News International executives who have publicly contradicted James Murdoch's claim that he did not know the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World will give evidence to Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 6).

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Former News of the World editor Colin Myler and former News International legal manager Tom Crone will appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee, in a session that will come after evidence is heard from Jonathan Chapman, News International's former director of legal affairs and Daniel Cloke, former group director of HR.

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All four are likely to face an inquisition on the extent of phone-hacking at the newspaper -- where former investigator Glenn Mulcaire and others are thought to have gathered the phone details of over 2000 people, many of whose cell phones have been illegally intercepted.

The executives will also be grilled on the devastating 2007 letter from former Royal reporter Clive Goodman to the then News International boss Les Hinton (who resigned as Dow Jones' chief executive last month).

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Hinton did not pass on the contents of the letter to the police when phone-hacking was first being investigated.

In the February 2007 letter, Goodman -- who was jailed in 2006 for intercepting phone messages -- laid out his grounds for appealing the newspaper's decision to fire him.

The reporter said that phone-hacking was "widely discussed" at the paper and that "other members of staff were carrying out "the same illegal procedures" that he had been jailed for, claiming out that his actions had been carried out with "the full knowledge and support" of his bosses. Most damagingly, Goodman said he had been told he would keep his job if he did not implicate News International in court.

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"Tom Crone and the editor [Andy Coulson] promised on many occasions that I could come back to the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea. I did not, and I expect the paper to honor its promise to me," Goodman said in the letter which came to light last month.

The former News International executives are also expected face difficult questioning on the so-called "for Neville" email, another document that indicated that phone-hacking was not limited to one rogue reporter at the newspaper, which News International had so long claimed.

Two months ago, James Murdoch told the select committee that he "was not aware" of the email at the time he signed off on a seven figure payment to one of the phone-hacking victims, Gordon Taylor, head of the Football Association.

However, in statements following the hearing, Myler and Crone said Murdoch had been informed of the email's contents. Both were let go when Rupert Murdoch dramatically shut down the News of the World earlier this summer.

"Since the 'for Neville' email was the sole reason for settling [the Gordon Taylor case] I have no doubt I informed Mr Murdoch of its existence, of what it was and what it came from," Crone said in a letter to the Committee.

The evidence session will come on the same day that Lord Justice Leveson, the judge heading a separate  judicial inquiry into the phone-hacking, begins assessing his potential witness. The announcement by the House of Commons select committee came Friday as news of another arrest -- this time of an unnamed 34-year old man -- was made public, the 15th phone-hacking arrest to date.

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