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CNN host Piers Morgan questioned in UK hacking investigation

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 1:29 PM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
 Anchor Piers Morgan is shown at the Langham Hotel on January 10, 2014, in Pasadena, California.
Anchor Piers Morgan is shown at the Langham Hotel on January 10, 2014, in Pasadena, California.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Piers Morgan says he was questioned by police looking into phone hacking claims
  • He was interviewed in December while in Britain, he says
  • Morgan, a CNN host, was formerly editor of two UK tabloid newspapers
  • Police are probing claims that journalists illegally accessed people's voice mail to get stories

London (CNN) -- CNN host and former UK tabloid editor Piers Morgan was questioned in December in connection with a UK police inquiry into phone hacking, he said Friday.

Morgan said he was interviewed while in Britain by officers involved in the investigation into claims that journalists illegally hacked people's voice mail to get stories, known as Operation Weeting.

"In early November I was asked to attend an interview by officers from Operation Weeting when I was next in the UK," he said in a prepared statement. "This was further to a full witness statement I had already freely provided. I attended that interview as requested on 6 December 2013."

London's Metropolitan Police said in a prepared statement: "A 48-year old man, a journalist, was interviewed under caution on the 6th December 2013 by officers from Operation Golding in connection with 'suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails.'

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"He was interviewed by appointment at a South London police station and he was not arrested."

CNN said it "has been aware of this interview since before it took place, and has no further comment."

Operation Golding is a strand of Operation Weeting and is specifically investigating allegations of phone interception at Mirror Group Newspapers, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said. The Daily Mirror, formerly edited by Morgan, is one of the group's titles.

There have been four arrests under Operation Golding and three people have been interviewed under caution, the Met Police said. This means anything said can be given in evidence in court.

Metropolitan Police inquiries have largely focused on alleged wrongdoing at the News of the World and Sun newspapers, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch. A number of people connected to the papers are on trial over alleged abuses there, including former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. They deny wrongdoing.

Morgan, also a former editor of the News of the World, is the host of prime-time interview show "Piers Morgan Live," which was first aired in January 2011.

In December of that year, he was called to testify before the UK Parliament regarding his exact knowledge of a phone hacking scandal involving pop star Paul McCartney and his ex-wife, Heather Mills.

Morgan was a columnist at The Sun before, in 1994, becoming editor of the News of the World. Two years later, he moved to the rival Daily Mirror, where he served as editor-in-chief from 1995 until 2004.

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