James Murdoch warned over phone hacking, e-mail shows

Email correspondence show James Murdoch was warned of a threat to sue his News of the World newspaper over phone hacking in 2008.

Story highlights

  • The editor of News of the World e-mailed Murdoch about a case of hacking
  • Murdoch has always denied knowing details about phone-hacking by his employees
  • The paper was shut down after the scandal over illegal eavesdropping
Correspondence released Tuesday shows that James Murdoch was warned in writing of the seriousness of a threat to sue his News of the World newspaper over phone hacking in 2008.
"Unfortunately it is as bad as we feared," the editor of the tabloid e-mailed proprietor Murdoch about the case, according to a copy of the correspondence published by Parliament Tuesday.
The e-mail from Colin Myler appears to undercut Murdoch's repeated testimony that he did not know details about phone-hacking by his employees.
Murdoch concedes in a letter to lawmakers, also published Tuesday, that he replied to the e-mail, but he does not admit having read it.
Murdoch is at the center of a scandal over illegal eavesdropping by the newspaper, which he shut down in July in the face of public fury at phone hacking.
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Editor Myler e-mailed Murdoch in June 2008 about a phone-hacking victim's threat to sue News of the World, describing Gordon Taylor as "vindictive."
Myler requested that Murdoch meet him and the paper's lawyer, Tom Crone, for "five minutes" on June 10.
Murdoch appears to agree in his reply three minutes later, but said in his letter to Parliament dated December 12 that he did not review the entire e-mail chain, which includes detailed correspondence about the Taylor claim.
News of the World ultimately settled with Taylor for 700,000 pounds (about $1.2 million.)
It also settled with several other celebrities, including actress Sienna Miller.
Police investigating phone hacking by journalists say that about 5,800 people, including celebrities, crime victims, politicians and members of the royal family, were targets of the practice by journalists in search of stories.
It involves illegally eavesdropping on voice mail by entering a PIN to access messages remotely.