New evidence in the News Corp. phone hacking scandal reveals a widespread cover-up that casts doubt on sworn testimonies from the company's most senior leadership. A 4-year-old letter written by former News of the World reporter Clive Goodman but published Tuesday claims that phone hacking was "widely discussed" at the tabloid and conducted with "the full knowledge and support" of the tabloid's senior management. The fresh revelation spells trouble for former Dow Jones chief Les Hinton, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron, and Rupert Murdoch. But it's potentially explosive for James Murdoch, who now faces another set of allegations that he lied to Parliament.
The Parliamentary committee investigating phone hacking allegations describes the Goodman letter as "absolutely devastating." Based on the context in which it was written in March 2007--just after Goodman's release from a four-month-long, phone-hacking-related prison sentence--the letter implicates each of the above News Corp. leaders in a slightly different way.
James Murdoch - The News Corp. chief operating officer is "likely" to be recalled to testify before Parliament says Labour MP Tom Watson. The Goodman letter led to an internal investigation at News Corp. that was conducted by the law firm Harbottle & Lewis. The new evidence seems to support the view that this investigation was more like a massive cover-up operation that Murdoch knew more about than he said he did. Last month, James Murdoch testified that he approved a $1.6 million settlement to a footballer without knowledge of an email that contained direct evidence of News of the World journalists hacking the footballer's phone. News International lawyer Tom Crone and former editor Colin Myler said that Murdoch's testimony was "mistaken." The Goodman letter and other documents released Tuesday further support Crone and Myler's claim. In a letter to Parliament, James has defended his testimony and said that he had no knowledge of the condemning email at the time of the settlement.