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September 13, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Mark Lewis, a lawyer for several of the alleged victims of telephone hacking by a private detective and reporters working for the now-defunct British tabloid News of the World, has suggested that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne recommended that Andy Coulson, the tabloid’s former editor, be appointed Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications director because he owed Coulson “a favor.” In an interview with the London Telegraph, Lewis observed that after the NoW published a story in which a former prostitute, Natalie Rowe, claimed that she had taken cocaine with Osborne when he was a young man — and provided a photo of her with Osborne with what appears to be a line of cocaine in front of her — the newspaper ran an editorial noting that at the time the photo was taken Osborne was “a young man when he found himself caught up in this murky world.” Osborne had denied that he used cocaine, and, said Lewis, the editorial suggested that he ought to be given the benefit of a doubt. He noted that the editorial “could have said that whilst we don’t believe Mr. Osborne took drugs, he showed a serious error of judgment being at a flat where drugs were taken; therefore, he is not the right person to be at the heart of politics.” Lewis made his remarks after Rowe was interviewed by Australian TV and said that she had sold her story to the London Sunday Mirror but that it appeared on the same day in the News of the World. She maintained that the only way the NoW could have learned about it was by hacking her telephone.