Former News of the World Lawyer: Rupert Murdoch Told 'Shameful Lie'

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Tom Crone defends himself against comments from the News Corp. CEO who had told a media ethics panel earlier in the day that people at his company had covered up the extent of the phone hacking scandal.

LONDON - Tom Crone, the former legal manager of the shuttered News of the World, struck back at News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch late Thursday, saying that the mogul's suggestion that he was responsible for covering up phone hacking at the tabloid was a "shameful lie."

The Guardian quoted from a statement by Crone.

Murdoch had earlier on Thursday told the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics that the extent of phone hacking at the paper had been covered up by a couple of people, including a long-time lawyer. That had prevented executives at News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit, News International, from finding out about allegations that phone hacking had gone beyond a single "rogue" reporter, he had argued.

Crone said Murdoch could have only meant him, according to the Guardian.

"His assertion that I 'took charge of a cover-up' in relation to phone-hacking is a shameful lie," Crone said. "The same applies to his assertions that I misinformed senior executives about what was going on and that I forbade people from reporting to [former News International CEO] Rebekah Brooks or to [former chairman] James Murdoch."

Crone continued: "The fact that Mr. Murdoch's attack on [former News of the World editor] Colin Myler and myself may have been personal, as well as being wholly wrong, greatly demeans him." And he added: "It is perhaps no coincidence that the two people he has identified in relation to his cover-up allegations are the same two people who pointed out that his son's evidence to the parliamentary select committee last year was inaccurate."


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