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LONDON – Jonathan May-Bowles, also known as Jonnie Marbles – the foam pie-thrower who was slam-dunked by Wendi Deng Murdoch at the House of Commons two weeks ago – was convicted Friday of assault and causing harassment, alarm and distress for his attack on News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. He will be sentenced August 2.
The 26-year-old comedian pleaded guilty to the charges, but appeared less than repentant when questioned by reporters as he was leaving the court.
“I’d just like to say that this is the most humble day of my life,” he said, mimicking the exact phrase used by Rupert Murdoch when he began his Parliamentary inquisition on July 19th.
May Bowles launched the shock attack on Rupert Murdoch as the 80-year-old News Corp. head was giving evidence on phone-hacking to the Culture Committee, as police, MPs and News Corp. deputy COO James Murdoch looked on in horror.
But the attempt at anarchic protest backfired when Wendi Deng Murdoch launched a spectacular swooping volley on the comedian, leaping across two people before slapping his head and then attacking him with his own shaving-foam pie.
As others in the room looked on open-mouthed, Deng shouted exultantly “I got him, I got him.”
The attack earned Rupert Murdoch – who at times had looked frail, ill-prepared and ill-informed – an unexpected sympathy vote, and prompted questions about security and witness protection in the House of Commons, where police were late to appear and did nothing to prevent what could have been a very serious attack.
While James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch continued their evidence after a 10-minute break during which the room was cleared of members of the public, the mood noticeably changed, with members of the Committee taking a more conciliatory approach and apologizing for the event.
Even Tom Watson, the MP who has lead the attack against phone-hacking for much of the last year and took the lead in a tense cross-questioning session with Rupert Murdoch at the beginning of the session, proved noticeably less hostile.
“Mr Murdoch, I have to congratulate you, your wife as got a very good left hook,” he said, closing his remarks.
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