CNN's Piers Morgan to Be Called to Leveson Inquiry to Explain Comments on Phone Hacking

Piers Morgan
AP Photo/Ian West

"Piers Morgan Tonight" has improved CNN's performance in the hour, but Rachel Maddow still tops the British host.

UPDATED: The disclosure came as Sienna Miller tells Leveson Inquiry she was "verbally abused and spat at" amid a "terrifying" campaign of press intimidation.

LONDON – Lord Justice Leveson said Thursday that CNN anchor Piers Morgan will be called to “explain himself” over comments he made relating to phone hacking in 2007.

The judge said his inquiry into press culture, standards and ethics would hear from Morgan -- a former editor of The News of The World and The Mirror -- “in due course” -- to explain comments apparently admitting detailed knowledge of phone hacking that he made in a 2007 interview.

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CNN said in a statement Thursday that the talk show host will testify in person, "Piers Morgan has confirmed to CNN that he will be giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry at a later date."

Morgan has always strenuously denied wrongdoing relating to phone hacking.

The Morgan disclosure came as actress Sienna Miller gave details of what she described as a “terrifying” campaign of paparazzi harassment arising from her phone having been hacked by The News of The World, which left her “paranoid” about her friends and family.

Miller said that day-to-day harassment at the hands of paparazzi had become routine.

“For a number of years I was relentlessly pursued by between 10 and 15 men pretty much daily -- the behavior was anything from being spat at to verbally abused,” she said, explaining that paparazzi used shock tactics to get as much of a reaction as possible.

The nature of the pursuits included “highly illegal driving,” in one case narrowly missing injuring a pregnant woman, and incidences when she was chased on foot.

“I would find myself when I was 21 on my own running down an alley being chased by 10 big men with cameras. If you take away the cameras that is illegal but the cameras make it legal. It’s still very intimidating.”

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Miller said that she had become convinced that her close friends and family had spoken to the newspapers after increasingly private details of her life became front-page news.

“It was baffling how certain pieces of information kept coming out – I changed my mobile number three times in three months and yet very private information came out – so I horribly I accused my friends and family of selling stories and they accused each other as well,” she said.

Miller added that she felt very angry and guilty about the impact her accusations had on her friends and family, and said that the entire episode had left her feeling tremendously isolated.

“I felt very violated and very paranoid and anxious constantly. That feeling that people knew absolutely everything about you was so confusing and frightening. I felt like I was living in some sort of video game.”

She said that she had eventually been shown details of Glenn Mulcaire’s diaries detailing surveillance of “about 10 members” of her family and friends and her emails.

“There was this web of surveillance – everyone close to me was being monitored and electronically listened to.”

Miller told Lord Leveson that she was “still waiting” after several years for full disclosure from News International about the extent of the information it held on her. News International’s barrister Rhodri Davies QC intimated to the inquiry that it would be forthcoming.

The inquiry has not given specific details about when it intends to call Piers Morgan to explain his comments but it is thought that the inquiry will relate to an interview in 2007 with Naomi Campbell.

In the interview, Morgan is challenged by Campbell over whether he had allowed phone hacking when he was an editor.

Morgan is quoted saying: “it was pretty well known that if you changed your pin code when you were a celebrity who bought a new phone, then reporters could ring your mobile, tap in a standard factory setting and hear your messages. That is not to me, as serious, as planting a bug in someone’s house.”

Morgan was challenged further on whether listening to messages is an invasion of privacy.

“It is, yes, but loads of newspaper journalists were doing it. Clive Goodman, the News of The World reporter, has been made the scapegoat for a very widespread practice,” he said.