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JURORS VIEW FIRST EVIDENCE IN U.K. PHONE-HACKING TRIAL

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Jurors in the telephone hacking trial that threatens Rupert Murdoch’s media empire continued hearing opening arguments in the case today (Thursday) with prosecutor Andrew Edis playing a tape revealing how detective Glenn Mulcaire was able to obtain confidential information about the phone accounts of celebrities and other public figures from phone operators — an activity called blagging. Edis also read from emails between Mulcaire and Ian Edmonson, a former news editor at the now-defunct tabloid News of the World, in which Mulcaire provided information about mobile phone messages and pin numbers of Tessa Jowell, who was then the culture secretary in the Labor government, and two others. Mulcaire than billed News of the World an extra £250 (about $385) for “Jowell assist.” “It wouldn’t do at all to have a document saying ‘for phone hacking’ so it’s ‘Jowell assist,'” said Edis. He noted that Mulcaire was paid under a written contract and that “a contract like that involves senior management,” referring to the defendants in the case, who include former News International chief Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World. At one point he disclosed that a letter discovered by police revealed that Brooks and Coulson had had an eight-year affair — during the period when the phone hacking occurred. “What Mr. Coulson knew, Mrs. Brooks knew too and what Mrs. Brooks knew, Mr Coulson knew too, that is the point. Because it’s clear from that letter as at February 2004 they had been having an affair which had lasted at least six years. So that takes us right back to 1998 which is the whole conspiracy period,” Edis told the jurors.