Two Former Employees Say News Corp.'s James Murdoch Was 'Mistaken' in His Parliamentary Testimony
NEW YORK - Did James Murdoch share incorrect or misleading information with a U.K. parliamentary committee that questioned him and his father about the phone hacking scandal earlier in the week?
Two former News of the World top executives on Thursday accused the News Corp. deputy COO of giving "mistaken" information to the committee about a six-figure out-of-court settlement that News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit News International made with the head of the soccer players' union, Gordon Taylor.
The Guardian reported that Colin Myler, the former editor of the recently shuttered tabloid, and Tom Crone, the paper's former head of legal affairs who departed last week, challenged Murdoch's version of events tied to the settlement in 2008.
"I stand behind my testimony to the Select Committee," James Murdoch said about the issue in a statement.
The committee on Tuesday had asked him if when you signed off on the Taylor payment, whether he saw or was made aware of the "full Neville email, the transcript of the hacked voicemail messages?" As the Guardian explained, that email contained a transcript of Taylor's voicemails and was sent by an alleged News of the World reporter to the private investigator at the center of the phone hacking scandal. The name Neville is believed to refer to former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck.
Confronted with the question, James Murdoch had told the committee: "No, I was not aware of that at the time."
"Just by way of clarification relating to Tuesday's culture, media, select committee hearing, we would like to point out that James Murdoch's recollection of what he was told when agreeing to settle the Gordon Taylor litigation was mistaken," the two former News International employees said in their statement, according to the Guardian. "In fact, we did inform him of the 'for Neville' email, which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor's lawyers."
The parliamentary committee is expected to seek an explanation from Murdoch as chairman John Whittingdale told the Guardian: "We as a committee regarded the 'for Neville' email as one of the most critical pieces of evidence in the whole inquiry. We will be asking James Murdoch to respond and ask him to clarify."