Piers Morgan on Phone Hacking Testimony: An 'Album of Worst-Ever Hits'

Piers Morgan has just finished testifying in the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking, but the CNN host and former News of the World and Daily Mirror editor may have already tipped his hand in past interviews, The Guardian points out.

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Update (12:15 p.m. EST): As he finished his testimony, Morgan compared himself to a "rock star" who was getting all his "worst-ever hits" played back to him.

Update (12:07 p.m. EST): "Morgan: I was 'silly' to print a fake picture of Diana kissing Dodi, but it's ok because another paper printed a real picture," The Times' Sarah Lyall tweets. Morgan was giving evidence about his life as a tabloid editor, which he once wrote was "a bit like playing God with people's lives."

Update (11:50 a.m.): About an hour into the testimony, Morgan is denying he knew anything about hacking at the Mirror. He did address his admission that he had heard the Paul McCartney voicemail, but said, "I can't discuss where I was played that tape or who played it," The New York Times' Ravi Somaiya tweeted. Separately, when asked about his pushing reporters to perform, he said, ""I would put a rocket up their collective backsides if I felt they weren't performing enough," The Times Jim Roberts tweeted.

Original: Piers Morgan has just started testifying in the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking, but the CNN host and former News of the World and Daily Mirror editor may have already tipped his hand in past interviews, The Guardian points out. Morgan wrote in the Daily Mail in 2006 that he had listened to a tape of Paul McCartney leaving a message for Heather Mills. He also told Naomi Campbell in a 2006 GQ interview that touched on hacking that "loads of newspaper journalists were doing it." But even though Morgan appears to have come close to admitting hacking in those two examples, he hasn't actually done so. And as The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh points out, the fact that he's appearing via video link instead of in person probably means the inquiry doesn't view him as seriously at fault. You can check out the live feed here:

In other U.K. phone hacking developments, News International announced Tuesday it had settled seven cases against the company, including one from Princess Dianna's ex-lover. The Associated Press rounds up the latest payoffs: "The company says it has settled claims brought by Princess Diana’s former lover James Hewitt, ex-Liberal Democrat lawmaker Mark Oaten, TV presenter Ukrika Jonsson, model Abi Titmuss, and Paul Dadge, who helped rescue victims of the 2005 London transit bombings. Theatrical agent Michelle Milburn and Calum Best, the son of soccer legend George Best, round out the list." The company has already paid out millions of dollars to other claimants including the family of Milly Dowler, the murder victim whose voice mail reporters at the now-defunct News accessed and erased.

Update: The inquiry has published Morgan's written testimony on its website, in case you'd like to peruse.

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