James Murdoch Grilled Over UK Phone Hacking
LONDON (AP) - James Murdoch defended his record at the head of his father’s scandal-tarred British newspaper unit before a U.K. inquiry Tuesday, saying that subordinates prevented him from making a clean sweep at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.
Speaking under oath at Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s inquiry into media ethics, Murdoch repeated allegations that the tabloid’s then-editor Colin Myler and the company’s former in-house lawyer Tom Crone misled him about the scale of illegal behavior at the newspaper.
Leveson asked Murdoch: "Can you think of a reason why Mr. Myler or Mr. Crone should keep this information from you? Was your relationship with them such that they may think: ’Well we needn’t bother him with that’ or ’We better keep it from it because he’ll ask to cut out the cancer’?"
"That must be it," Murdoch said. "I would say: ’Cut out the cancer,’ and there was some desire to not do that."
The 39-year-old Murdoch said that at the time he had no reason to doubt his subordinates when he took over at News International, which published the News of the World, saying he had repeatedly been told that nothing was amiss.
"I was given assurances by them, which proved to be wrong," he said.
Revelations that reporters at the News of the World had hacked into the phones of hundreds of high-profile people, including a teenage murder victim, pushed Murdoch’s father Rupert to close the 168-year-old newspaper, triggered three U.K. police investigations, led to more than 100 lawsuits, and launched Leveson’s inquiry into media practices.
James Murdoch has found himself sucked into the center of scandal, with critics saying that he should have found out about the wrongdoing once he took over at News International in December 2007.