Live Blog: Murdochs, Brooks, police testify in phone-hacking scandal
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks testifies at a UK hearing.
July 19th, 2011
02:12 PM ET

Live Blog: Murdochs, Brooks, police testify in phone-hacking scandal

Editor's Note: Watch live coverage of Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks answering questions before the British Parliament in the phone-hacking scandal on, the CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and selected Nokia handsets internationally.

[Updated at 6:16 p.m. GMT, 2:16 p.m. ET]  Bit of a twist at the end – and an intriguing cliffhanger request from Brooks.

At the end of her session, she asked that, when she is freed from legal constraints – remember, she has been arrested and bailed – she be invited back again to be questioned by the committee. Committee members said they were fine with that.

And with that, Brooks left the hearing.

[Updated at 6:16 p.m. GMT, 2:16 p.m. ET] "There’s a lot out there that is not true” Brooks says of claims in the UK media about her social relations with Prime Minister David Cameron and his family.

She also points out that she and her husband, Charlie, a famed race horse trainer and owner, do have a home close to Cameron in southern England. However, the former News International chief executive says she hasn’t been to Cameron’s official Downing Street residence, nor has she been horse riding with him.

[Updated at 6:14 p.m. GMT, 2:14 p.m. ET] Brooks, who appears well prepared for this inquisition, says she hopes that the truth about the whole phone-hacking scandal will be known as soon as possible and that those found culpable will be punished.

“A newsroom is based on trust,” she says. “You rely on the people that work for you to behave in a proper manner.”

[Updated at 6:12 p.m. GMT, 2:12 p.m. ET] To give Brooks her due, she is answering questions quite freely, despite the fact that she was arrested Sunday. She could easily claim more than she actually has that her answers might prejudice ongoing police investigations, for example.

She does have a lawyer by her side off camera, but he seems to be having a quiet time of it.

[Updated at 6:02 p.m. GMT, 2:02 p.m. ET] Brooks again says it’s "staggering to believe" staff at News of the World would have authorized the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone.

"My instant reaction, like everybody else, was one of shock and disgust that a family who had suffered so much already, that these allegations clearly added immeasurably to their suffering," she said.

Lawmaker Therese Coffey then asks whether Brooks asked her reporters how they got information relating to that story. She replied that the phone hacking was "unknown to me."

[Updated at 5:54 p.m. GMT, 1:54 p.m. ET] The foam attack on Rupert Murdoch continues to reverberate. Filmmaker Jeff Reed told the Press Association: "I feel really let down. The Murdochs came here with the reasonable expectation of being protected. This was quite a juvenile prank, hitting someone with a paper plate of shaving foam.

"It's very undignified and undermines the whole democratic process. I thought it was quite self-defeating. The MPs were all truly shocked. Even some of Mr. Murdoch's most vociferous critics like Tom Watson - you could see the sheer disappointment of all their hard work being undone."

[Updated at 5:46 p.m. GMT, 1:46 p.m. ET] Brooks is repeating her allegation that her own phone was hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007.

[Updated at 5:43 p.m. GMT, 1:43 p.m. ET] Turning to the issue of payments made to police officers, which has aroused almost as much outrage as phone hacking itself, Brooks attempts to clarify her comments in 2003 to a select committee in which she admitted paying officers in the past.

Brooks now says when she made her earlier comments she was referring to a "wide-held belief" that payments had been made in the past, and not to a "widespread practice."

"I can say that I have never paid a policeman myself. I have never sanctioned, knowingly sanctioned, a payment to a police officer," she said. "In my experience of dealing with the police, the information they give to newspapers comes free of charge."

[Updated at 5:41 p.m. GMT, 1:41p.m. ET] The committee is continuing to question Brooks about Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked. Brooks said that Dowler’s phone being hacked was the most shocking thing she had heard about journalists at News international.

To put this in context: The interest in the hacking of phones belonging to celebrities, politicians and other public figures had aroused interest – and denials – for several years. However, the anger aroused by the phone hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler took revulsion to a new level – and is what has turned this issue into a crisis for the media, police and some politicians for the past few weeks.

Brooks has said she was on holiday during the Milly Dowler story but thinks Andy Coulson was editing while she was away. Coulson later became press chief for Prime Minister David Cameron but stood down this year as he said the interest in him over his role in alleged phone hacking had become too much of an issue.

[Updated at 5:35 p.m. GMT, 1:35 p.m. ET] Louise Mensch, a Conservative member of Parliament, has been grilling all three executives  in addition to questioning comments made by Piers Morgan in his book about the tactic of phone hacking.

The New York Times has gone through the book and seems to be agreeing with Morgan's frustration about the allegations that he possibly knew or took part in phone hacking, based on what he wrote in the book.

"Mr. Morgan wrote that he suspected that he had been a victim of phone hacking, not that his newspaper had used the practice to get information," The New York Times notes in its live blog. "Mr. Morgan wrote that, at one stage, he was puzzled as to how other newspapers had obtained confidential information about him. In one entry in the diary, he wrote: 'I am mystified. But someone suggested today that people might be listening to my mobile messages. Apparently, if you don't change the standard security code that every phone comes with, then anyone can call your number and, if you don't answer, tap in the standard four digit code to hear your messages. I'll change mine just in case, but it makes me wonder how many public figures and celebrities are aware of this little trick.' "

[Updated at 5:30 p.m. GMT, 1:30 p.m. ET] Brooks says the hacking of murder victim Milly Dowler's phone – which sparked the outrage of the last few weeks - by News of the World was “abhorrent,” adding that the speed at which we've found things out has been too slow.

However, she says the company acted "quickly and decisively" in investigating the scandal after News International saw evidence in December 2010 that actress Sienna Miller’s phone was hacked.

Brooks says she promised that as soon as the company discovered the allegations about Milly Dowler, she promised the family that News International would get to the bottom of it.

[Updated at 5:23 p.m. GMT, 1:23 p.m. ET] Piers Morgan's name has been coming up frequently over the past few hours of questioning regarding the practice of phone hacking.

In response, the CNN journalist tweeted: (@piersmorgan): "To all reporters now chasing this MP's claim – the book is called The Insider: Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade. Great read. #Murdoch."

He then responded to someone adding, along with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, that he will appear on the Situation Room on Tuesday night to discuss the issue.

[Updated at 5:19 p.m. GMT, 1:19 p.m. ET] A slight break from Brooks' questioning for some post-game on the Murdochs' job today from documentary maker Michael Cockerell on the way they ran their empire: "There has been an extraordinary disconnect going on for the past two and a half hours in terms of what we know of journalism, what we know of tabloid journalism, and this rather corporate-speak that's been going on."

"Rebekah Brooks knows more than anyone. She knows where the bodies are buried. She was editor of News of the World when Andy Coulson was her deputy. She then became editor of The Sun, she then became chief executive of News International. So she knows how journalism works," Cockerell told CNN. "And there was no sense in this meeting today of how journalism works on the front line and how it works as far as the editor is concerned - what the editor really knows of his or her staff is up to. Those kind of questions will need to be asked of Rebekah Brooks, but she may say that because she has been arrested, that because there is an ongoing police investigation, that she can't answer them as fully as she would like."

For those of you still debating whether it was thumbs-up or down for Rupert Murdoch, CNN's Jim Boulden has blogged about the session and says his perfromance showed him to be a "hands-off" CEO, but one who believes he was "the best person to clear this up."

[Updated at 5:17 p.m. GMT, 1:17 p.m. ET] Brooks is now discussing the close of the News of the World and why it shut.

“For the last few months, actually for the last few years, it had been leading the headlines for the wrong reasons," she said.

The decision to close the NOTW is moving into more sensitive territory for Brooks. Many journalists said it had been shut to defuse the crisis, and so Brooks  did not have to resign – but she did, on Friday, less than a week later.

[Updated at 5:14 p.m. GMT, 1:14 p.m. ET] Committee member Lousie Mensch is switching to ask questions about the Daily Mail and the comment by its editor, Paul Dacre, that it had never published a story based on phone hacking.

For those of you outside the UK, the Daily Mail is a middle-market tabloid whose influence in many respects can be as strong as the Murdoch stable.

Brooks is saying she didn’t really see Dacre’s comments. But it's interesting that Mensch, who writes successful novesl as Louise Bagshawe, is broadening the questioning beyond News International.

[Updated at 5:12 p.m. GMT, 1:12 p.m. ET] Brooks admits it “seems extraordinary” that News International re-employed Jonathan Rees as a private investigator despite him being a convicted criminal. She admits that “it may be incredible” that as CEO, she didn’t know this, but “that’s the truth.”

[Updated at 5:10 p.m. GMT, 1:10 p.m. ET] Louise Mensch repeats her allegation that Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) admits in his book that he used phone-hacking while he was editor of News of the World.

The former editor, now a presenter on CNN, responds on Twitter that this is "complete nonsense. "I've never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone."

Morgan then tweeted: "Ms. Mensch is completely and utterly wrong. She clearly hasn't read my book. Can someone please give her a copy?"

[Updated at 5:04 p.m. GMT, 1:04 p.m. ET] Brooks said it was “abhorrent” that the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked by someone at the News of the World.

[Updated at 5:02 p.m. GMT, 1:02 p.m. ET] Lawmaker Tom Watson said he will be limited in his questioning because of police proceedings.

He asks Brooks whether she remembers authorizing payments to private detectives, such as Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007 for hacking the phones of members of the royal family. She says the editor’s job was to manage the overall budget of the paper, while the managing editor authorized payments to individual departments. She says she cannot remember making individual payments to private detectives while she was editor of News of the World.

Watson, who did much forensic probing early in the Murdoch hearing, is looking at how much Brooks knew about the hiring of private investigator Jonathan Rees and repeatedly questioning how much she knew, saying that people might find it incredible that she did not know about their role.

“It may be incredible, but it is also the truth,” Brooks has replied.

[Updated at 4:55 p.m. GMT, 12:55 p.m. ET] Rebekah Brooks seems slightly more relaxed than the Murdochs, although it’s early into this hearing. She also seems less hesitant with her answers.

Possibly it’s because Brooks has been here before and appeared before this committee previously. Rupert Murdoch had not, although his son had.

Frankly, her hearing would be hard-pushed for an incident to surpass that which hit the Murdochs nearly an hour ago.

[Updated at 4:52 p.m. GMT, 12:52 p.m. ET] While Brooks continues to answer questions, we take a quick break for a post-game on the Murdochs' performance at the hearing.

Allyson L. Stewart-Allen, an international marketing and corporate diplomacy expert, told CNN: "If you look at all of the comments they made over the course of the past three hours, what comes out loud and clear to me are two executives who appear profoundly out of touch."

[Updated at 4:48 p.m. GMT, 12:48 p.m. ET] Brooks admits that what happened at News of the World was "pretty horrific."

Brooks, the former News International chief executive, says that "of course mistakes were made, but I think we acted quickly" after new information came to light, adding that she did not have the full picture of phone hacking from her staff.

[Updated at 4:44 p.m. GMT, 12:44 p.m. ET] Okay, Rebekah Brooks has started her testimony – 2 hours and 15 minutes after she was due to speak.

She is offering her own apologies at the start of her questioning. She states she was arrested and questioned several days ago and has legal representation so she does not impede those investigations but will try to answer questions as freely as she can.

Just a reminder that Brooks had emerged as one of the stars of UK tabloid journalism during the past 20 years and was the youngest ever editor of a national newspaper.

[Updated at 4:35 p.m. GMT, 12:35 p.m. ET] Testimony from Rupert Murdoch and his son James has concluded. Committee is in a short recess and will return to question former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.

[Updated at 4:29 p.m. GMT, 12:29 p.m. ET] A popular retweet right now comes from New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller's wife.

Emma Gilbey Keller (@EMMAGKELLER) a contributor to Vanity Fair Daily tweeted to her husband: "@nytkeller If someone chucked a pie at you I would totally jump on top of them too."

[Updated at 4:29 p.m. GMT, 12:29 p.m. ET] Asked if Rupert Murdoch would still like to make a closing statement he begins to read the prepared remarks he had originally asked to open the hearing with. The committee had denied him that opportunity.

You can read the full statement here (PDF)

[Updated at 4:26 p.m. GMT, 12:26 p.m. ET] Asked by Louise Mensch if he has considered resigning as chief executive of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch says "No. People I trusted have let me down ... behaved disgracefully. I'm the best person to clear this up."

[Updated at 4:25 p.m. GMT, 12:25 p.m. ET] Committee member Tom Watson says to Rupert Murdoch: “Your wife has a very good left hook.”

That's in reference to one of the most bizarre incidents we can recall happening in the UK parliament.

[Updated at 4:20 p.m. GMT, 12:20 p.m. ET] Media law expert Geoffrey Robertson, a senior lawyer, tells CNN the strategy of the Murdochs "was clearly to let James do all the talking."

"The select committee did badly in cross-examination, they were feckless, they didn't get at much truth."

[Updated at 4:19 p.m. GMT, 12:19 p.m. ET] Murdoch issued a less categorical denial than that of his father Rupert that News Corp. reporters hacked into the phones of September 11, 2001 victims, saying he had no evidence of it and that it would have been totally unacceptable. Rupert Murdoch earlier told British lawmakers he did not believe it had happened.

[Updated at 4:16 p.m. GMT, 12:16 p.m. ET] In a committee room now cleared of members of the public and media, James Murdoch says he only became aware of the Milly Dowler allegations when they were reported in the press.

[Updated at 4:10 p.m. GMT, 12:10 p.m. ET] We're back up and running. Rupert Murdoch appearing in shirt sleeves, presumably because his jacket is covered in foam.

The hearing resumes, with lawmaker Louise Mensch saying her questioning will be just as robust as it would have been "before we were so rudely interrupted."

[Updated at 4:04 p.m. GMT, 12:04 p.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch was hit "squarely in the face" by the plate of shaving foam, reports CNN's Jonathan Wald, who was in the the hearing.

Wald added the man told Murdoch "you are a greedy billionaire." Police officers wiped foam off the man's face at Portcullis House, where the hearing is taking place.

[Updated at 4:02 p.m. GMT, 12:02 p.m. ET] CNN's Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) tweets: "Wendi just stole all the headlines. That idiot protester, allowed in by MPs, has single-handedly won the day's PR for the Murdochs."

[Updated at 4:01 p.m. GMT, 12:01 p.m. ET] Video footage shows Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, lunging towards attacker.

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. GMT, 11:58 a.m. ET] Press Association reports that Rupert Murdoch was pelted with a white substance in the attack. Reuters said it was a "white plate with foam."

TV pictures show police detaining a man wearing a checked shirt with what appears to be paint splashed across his face and clothes.

[Updated at 3:54 p.m. GMT, 11:54 a.m. ET] Hearing temporarily suspended as protester apparently lunges towards the Murdochs.

James Murdoch rises to his feet to move out of the way of the protester.

[Updated at 3:52 p.m. GMT, 11:52 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch says people cannot expect total privacy in a transparent society. Referring to the recent scandal about lawmakers’ expenses, he says that one solution may be to pay them higher salaries like their counterparts in Singapore who he says are paid $1 million. One of the lawmakers suggests the proposal may not go down that well in Britain.

Rupert Murdoch said it was right for newspapers to campaign to change the law but never to break it. His voice breaking slightly, he cited the example of his father “who was not rich but was a great journalist.” He says his father Keith exposed the scandal of the World War I battle at Gallipoli “which I’m very very proud of. I would love to see my sons and daughters follow him.”

[Updated at 3:45 p.m. GMT, 11:45 a.m. ET] Lots of commentary coming on from Twitter on what's being dubbed "James-speak." A sampling of the chatter:

Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple (@ErikWemple) tweeted: James Murdoch–most classic use of passive voice ever in Parliament: "To my knoweldge, certain things were not known."

The Guardian's data journalist and a self-proclaimed "ex-Wikileaker" (@jamesrbuk) tweeted: "I'm glad you asked about that" – James Murdoch's catchphrase today."

And Richard Allen Greene (@RAGreeneCNN) of CNN Wires who is contributing to’s main story on the phone-hacking hearings tweets: “James #Murdoch has a tendency to tell MPs if he thinks their questions are good or not. Can anyone see how MPs are reacting?”

[Updated at 3:42 p.m. GMT, 11:42 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch avoids commenting on whether editors knew about the illegal activities of some News of the World reporters, because he does not want to jeopardize various inquiries being conducted. However he says Les Hinton appointed Colin Myler as editor in 2007 to “find out what the hell is going on” at the paper.

Asked if the management of News International deliberately kept him in the dark over the hacking, the firm’s founder replies: “I may have been lax but it was such a small part of our business.”

[Updated at 3:35 p.m. GMT, 11:35 a.m. ET] The website of Murdoch’s tabloid Sun newspaper, which was attacked by hackers overnight (they posted a report claiming Murdoch had been found dead), is back online. It carries a very matter-of-fact four-paragraph report that the hearing is taking place.

There’s more coverage on the website of Murdoch’s broadsheet Times of London, but this is hidden behind a paywall.

[Updated at 3:31 p.m. GMT, 11:31 a.m. ET] James Murdoch says evidence that phone hacking extended beyond Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire only became apparent as result of later civil actions. Before then,News of the World editor Colin Myler and lawyer Tom Crone advised him, he says, to settle cases with out-of-court payments to victims, because there was no evidence of wider illegality.

"The police as well had closed their case and said there is no new evidence here," he said.

However in 2010 new evidence was presented from civil trials, James Murdoch says, which indicated “the circle was wider than the two individuals.”

However lawmaker Paul Farrelly strikes back, saying that evidence was sitting in their own files.

[Updated at 3:15 p.m. GMT, 11:15 a.m. ET] James Murdoch admits News International paid the legal fees of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007 along with News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, and says he was shocked to find this out.

When a lawmaker suggests the payment was designed to buy the silence of a phone hacker, James replies that he can understand why someone would infer this.

[Updated at 3:14 p.m. GMT, 11:14 a.m. ET] Not everyone is finding Murdoch & Murdoch’s testimony gripping. CNN’s Dan Rivers (@danieljerivers) says at least one member of the audience has dozed off.

“Can't believe 1 member of public fell asleep! This is riveting!”

There’ll be plenty of people upset about this, given the number of people turned away from the hearing after lining up for hours.

[Updated at 3:05 p.m. GMT, 11:05 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch says both News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her predecessor Les Hinton – his right-hand man for 52 years - will have received "considerable" compensation following their resignation, but the details are confidential.

When asked why he did not accept Brooks' resignation earlier Rupert replies: "Because I trusted her." Eventually he did accept it "because she was in anguish."

[Updated at 3:01 p.m. GMT, 11:01 a.m. ET] Both Murdochs are being pressed on who paid disgraced former royal editor Clive Goodman's legal fees when he was on trial for hacking the phones of members of the royal family.

Murdoch Junior says he doesn't know the details; Murdoch Senior says it “could have been” former News International chief executive Les Hinton, a man Rupert says “he would trust with his life,” who authorized the payout.

[Updated at 2:59 p.m. GMT, 10:59 a.m. ET] Laura Rozen, a senior foreign policy reporter for Yahoo News, has a few thoughts on James Murdoch's style today. She tweets (@lrozen): Someone should advise James Murdoch to talk less. the more he talks with that agentless managementese, more annoying he seems"

[Updated at 2:56 p.m. GMT, 10:56 a.m. ET] Our correspondent Dan Rivers (@danieljerivers) who is watching proceedings, tweets: "James Murdoch seems badly prepared his father totally unaware of what's been going on. Awkward silences and repeated denials."

[Updated at 2:52 p.m. GMT, 10:52 a.m. ET] Looks like the questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch is going to run well over schedule. Former News International executive Rebekah Brooks was slated to appear at 2:30 p.m. GMT, 10:30 a.m. ET, but that has clearly been pushed back.

The interviewing panel are clearly relishing their chance to put the world’s most powerful media baron on the spot and aren’t wrapping it up in a hurry.

This is interesting given the reluctance to attend this hearing initially shown by both Murdochs. Both originally said they were too busy, relenting only after they were threatened with a parliamentary summons.

[Updated at 2:52 p.m. GMT, 10:52 a.m. ET]  CNN’s Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) tweets that when he was editor of News of the World, “Rupert called me every week for 18ms on News of the World – rarely asked about anything but what stories we had that week.”

[Updated at 2:48 p.m. GMT, 10:48 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch says he wouldn't expect to be told in conversations about payouts to victims of phone-hacking in amounts of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Murdoch Senior says conversations  would often be just talking about the sports pages.

[Updated at 2:45 p.m. GMT, 10:45 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch says he seldom rang the editor of News of the World, sometimes on a Saturday night to find out "what the news was." He says he rang the Sunday Times editor almost every Saturday.

He adds: "I'm not really in touch."

[Updated at 2:42 p.m. GMT, 10:42 a.m. ET] James Murdoch said he and his father were advised to "fundamentally tell the truth at the hearing and to be as open and transparent as possible."

[Updated at 2:40 p.m. GMT, 10:40 a.m. ET] Pressed to admit that a News Corp. out-of-court settlement with English soccer executive Gordon Taylor was for "illegal activity," James Murdoch conceded the point Tuesday to British lawmakers probing phone hacking by the disgraced Sunday tabloid News of the World.

[Updated at 2:37 p.m. GMT, 10:37 a.m. ET] CNN’s Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan), who once worked as a journalist for one of Murdoch’s papers, has this to say about the News Corp chief’s habit of pounding the table to make his point in answer to questions.

He tweets: "Nothing unusual in Rupert's desk-whacking, He did that in every meeting I ever had with him. To convey both pleasure & displeasure #Murdoch"

[Updated at 2:35 p.m. GMT, 10:35 a.m. ET] More on current Twitter trends: According to Murdoch-related terms seem to be dominating the social networking tool at the moment. At 14:20 GMT it’s list includes: Murdoch, Rupert, and James. “Humble,” also features, a reference to Rupert Murdoch’s earlier statement (1:38 p.m. GMT, 9:38 a.m. ET), as does “Burns” for reasons stated in an earlier post about the Simpsons.

[Updated at 2:33 p.m. GMT, 10:33 a.m. ET] Remember that statement the Murdoch father and son wanted to read before they began answering questions? That request was denied by lawmakers but the statement has been released to the media. They had planned, in part, to begin this way:

"My son and I have come here with great respect for all of you, for Parliament and for the people of Britain whom you represent."

"This is the most humble day of my career. After all that has happened, I know we need to be here today. Before going further, James and I would like to say how sorry we are for what has happened - especially with regard to listening to the voicemail of victims of crime."

Read the full statement here (PDF)

[Updated at 2:30 p.m. GMT, 10:30 a.m. ET] Asked whether the scandal will make you think about how you approach your headlines in the future, Rupert Murdoch replies: "I'm not aware of any transgressions. We have a wonderful variety of voices. I'm sure there are some headlines that give offense but it's not intentional."

[Updated at 2:23 p.m. GMT, 10:23 a.m. ET] It would be remiss of us not to mention the numerous Twitter comments comparing Rupert and James Murdoch and two characters from the Simpsons cartoon: scheming nuclear power station boss Montgomery Burns and his craven assistant Smithers.

Mark Borkowski (@MarkBorkowski), a UK-based public relations expert, remarks: “Murdoch is playing the beffudled Mr Burns figure #PR #Genius”

A colleague also points out that #Smithers is among items trending on Twitter.

[Updated at 2:19 p.m. GMT, 10:19 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch denied feeling responsible for illegal phone hacking carried out by his employees, answering a British lawmaker's question simply: "No."

James Murdoch has "no knowledge" that any News Corp. companies are the subject of investigations by the UK's Serious Fraud Office or other regulators, he told British lawmakers investigating phone hacking on Tuesday.

[Updated at 2:16 p.m. GMT, 10:16 a.m. ET] Media critic, new-media columnist for The Guardian in London and professor Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) tweets: "Murdoch calls this a "hysteria" and competitive conspiracy to stop him from getting BSkyB. Wow! Dementia."

[Updated at 2:15 p.m. GMT, 10:15 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch says he is not ultimately responsible for "this fiasco" despite being responsible - the lawmakers remind him - for corporate governance. He blames "the people I trusted and the people they trusted."

[Updated at 2:14 p.m. GMT, 10:14 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch says he has seen "no evidence" that victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States were victims of phone hacking by his employees and does not believe it happened.

[Updated at 2:13 p.m. GMT, 10:13 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch says David Cameron asked him to visit the prime minister’s official residence 10 Downing Street after the last general election to thank him for his support. He went in the back door, saying “I did what I was told.”

[Updated at 2:12 p.m. GMT, 10:12 a.m. ET] Ian Katz, deputy editor of The Guardian, (@iankatz1000) tweeted: "The greatest puzzle watching this is how Rupert Murdoch has run a $40bn so successfully for so long."

[Updated at 2:04 p.m. GMT, 10:04 a.m. ET] Lawmaker Tom Watson asks when Rupert Murdoch discovered that criminality was endemic at News of the World. Rupert replies: “Endemic” is a very wide ranging word he says, but “he became aware as it became apparent.”

He says he was "absolutely shocked, appalled and ashamed when I heard about the Milly Dowler case only two weeks ago." He added that “I was graciously received” by the Dowler family last week.

Watson asks whether anyone at News International passed on to him that parliamentarians had accused individuals at the company of being guilty of “collective amnesia.” Rupert admits no one brought it to his attention, adding, “What you're really saying is that they lied."

Watson also asks when Murdoch learned that the company’s claim that there was only “one rogue reporter” was not true. Rupert says after a long pause: “I forget. Mr Watson, we have given all our files to the police.”

Asked why the company closed News of the World, Rupert says forcefully: “We are ashamed of what had happened and felt we should bring it to a close. We had broken our trust with our readers.”

[Updated at 2:00 p.m. GMT, 10:00 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch's performance under questioning is drawing comments on twitter (and, unless we’re mistaken, eye-rolling from James Murdoch).

Armando Ianucci (@aianucci) an Oscar-winning satirist, compares his delivery to that of befuddled contestants on a popular British TV quiz show. “You know that bit in Celebrity Mastermind when the celeb goes completely blank on their specialist subject? Like that, but not for charity.”

[Updated at 1:59 p.m. GMT, 9:59 a.m. ET]A Freelance reporter for the Independent, @RichardHall, tweets: "Can't imagine Rupert Murdoch has ever been spoken to like this before. Fascinating stuff. #hackgate"

[Updated at 1:57 p.m. GMT, 9:57 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch, taking long pauses, says no one has brought to his attention the fact that Neville Thurlbeck, a senior News of the World reporter, had been found guilty of trying to blackmail women.

He also says he did not investigate after former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks said the newspaper paid police, says he was "misled."

Murdoch added  he has "no knowledge" that former News Corp. senior officials Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton knew of the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid and he has "no evidence" they did anything wrong.

[Updated at 1:56 p.m. GMT, 9:56 a.m. ET] It’s early in the trading day, but worth noting that News Corp, which has seen its share value slide in recent weeks, has opened up compared to the previous day. The opening price is $15.40, compared to the previous day’s close of $14.97. The price is still well down on the $18 highs seen at the beginning of July when the phone hacking scandal began gathering steam.

[Updated at 1:52 p.m. GMT, 9:52 a.m. ET] New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter tweets a comment about Rupert Murdoch's answer about his company - one many expected Murdoch would say during this hearing.

@brianstelter: "Is Rupert Murdoch using the we're-a-really-big-company defense?"

[Updated at 1:52 p.m. GMT, 9:52 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch asks to say something. Thumping the table repeatedly, he says News of the World is only 1% of his company; he employs 53,000 people around the world and he has to rely on their integrity.

[Updated at 1:50 p.m. GMT, 9:50 a.m. ET] The direct hearing on the phone hacking, which saw senior police figures testifying, has ended.

[Updated at 1:49 p.m. GMT, 9:49 a.m. ET] Aside from Rupert Murdoch’s remarkable interruption, James seems to be doing most of the talking so far. It’s also worth mentioning that Rupert’s wife Wendi Deng is sitting visibly front-and-center on the benches behind James and his father.

[Updated at 1:48 p.m. GMT, 9:48 a.m. ET] Asked why News International executives said at previous appearances before select committees that there was no evidence of illegality, James Murdoch says the company relied on a police investigation in 2007 and subsequent inquiries. He says he can’t say exactly what they knew, but key facts only emerged from civil trials at end of 2010.

Asked who else was involved with phone hacking at News of the World, James says a number of investigations are going on, and he can’t comment further. He says News International has established a group within company that is cooperating with the police.

[Updated at 1:38 p.m. GMT, 9:38 a.m. ET] Rupert Murdoch interrupts his son who is apologizing for the illegal phone-hacking, to say: "This is the most humble day of my life."

[Updated at 1:36 p.m. GMT, 9:36 a.m. ET] Now to the main event. James Murdoch sitting alongside his father Rupert asks to read out a statement, but chairman John Whittingdale refuses.

[Updated at 1:28 p.m. GMT, 9:28 a.m. ET] Dan Rivers has managed to get into the committee room where the Murdochs will be grilled. No more tweets allowed," he writes.

[Updated at 1:27 p.m. GMT, 9:27 a.m. ET] It appears we may have a bit of overlapping between the two hearings, but we'll be watching both. We'll bring you continued coverage of comments from outgoing Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates as well as the beginning of coverage of testimony in the second hearing. That hearing, before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, will focus on testimony from Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks.

[Updated at 1:26 p.m. GMT, 9:26 a.m. ET] Yates has been defending his 2009 review of the phone hacking investigation which recommended that no further action was needed. Asked whether his eight-hour perusal of 11,000 documents was sufficient, he said it was.

“You can criticize me with hindsight," he said. "It was a reasonably sophisticated process."

[Updated at 1:21 p.m. GMT, 9:21 a.m. ET] As anticipation builds for the day’s main attraction – the questioning of Rupert Murdoch - Dan Rivers (@danieljerivers) tweets that some members of the public have been lining up since 5:30 a.m. this morning to get a seat at in the gallery.

[Updated at 1:19 p.m. GMT, 9:19 a.m. ET] As with Stephenson before him, Yates’ answers have brought up the police force’s relationship with Downing Street – which is a key element when considering the scandal’s potential to taint the current government.

Yates said he had offered to brief the prime minister’s chief of staff over the “nuances” of the phone-hacking affair in September 2010. He said the offer was rejected.

Earlier Stephenson spoke about being warned by a Downing Street official that directly briefing Prime Minister David Cameron about Neil Wallis could compromise the Conservative leader’s integrity. He was later unable to put a name to this official.

[Updated at 1:10 p.m. GMT, 9:10 a.m. ET] The questioning has turned once again to the subject of former News of the World executive Neil Wallis. Yates said he asked Neil Wallis if there was anything that could embarrass the Met before he was hired.

Asked about what role he played in the Met’s hiring of Wallis’s daughter, he said: “The met employs people all the time. I had absolutely nothing to do with her employment…” He added that he was merely “a postbox” for her resume.

Yates says he met Wallis two or three times a year since they first met in 2000 - mostly they had "sport-related" meetings.

"Don't get the impression we're bosom buddies, forever round each other's houses," he said.

[Updated at 1:02 p.m. GMT, 9:02 a.m. ET] Outgoing Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates is facing the panel now. Explaining why he resigned yesterday over the scandal he said he wanted to “stand up and be counted.”

He added: “I’ve done nothing wrong, my integrity is intact and my conscience is clear.”

[Updated at 1:01 p.m. GMT, 9:01 a.m. ET] Keith Vaz thanks Fedorcio for coming in, but adds “I’m not sure we’re any clearer now than we were at the beginning.”

[Updated at 12:56 p.m. GMT, 8:56 a.m. ET] Fedorcio faces detailed questioning on why he asked Yates to perform a “due diligence” check on former News of the World executive Wallis.

He says he asked him to carry out the checks because he knew he had investigating phone hacking; asked by the panel if he knew Wallis and Yates had been close friends since 1998, he says did not.

Repeatedly Fedorcio says: “I had no reason to doubt Mr. Yates’s integrity.”

[Updated at 12:53 p.m. GMT, 8:53 a.m. ET] More from CNN’s Dan Rivers (@danieljerivers) outside the inquiry. He writes: “Just seen Rebekah Brooks in Portcullis House smiling and looking confident.”

[Updated at 12:43 p.m. GMT, 8:43 a.m. ET] A bit of post-match analysis on Stephenson from former Metropolitan Police Commander John O’Connor. He says Stephenson “held his end very well.” The MPs were looking for a smoking gun, or evidence of doing favors for News International, but they found no such evidence, O’Connor told CNN's Richard Quest.

Stephenson accepted his position as top cop was untenable after it was revealed he accepted $19,000 worth of hospitality from Champneys as it would have implied there was one rule for him and another for ordinary police officers. O’Connor said Stephenson emerged as a “man of great integrity.”

O’Connor said he believed some people will ultimately find themselves in the dock over the scandal and some of them will go to jail.

[Updated at 12:39 p.m. GMT, 8:39 a.m. ET] Dick Fedorcio, the Metropolitan police’s director of public affairs, has wasted no time in pointing an accusing finger at John Yates.

Fedorcio says he was told by Yates that employing former News of the World executive Neil Wallis would not embarrass the police force.

[Updated at 12:31 p.m. GMT, 8:31 a.m. ET] Stephenson has wrapped things up after an hour and a half with a closing statement in which he praised his police colleagues as “decent hard-working professionals” and sought to clarify the circumstances of his departure.

“I’m not leaving because I was pushed” he said.

He sounded slightly morbid speaking his colleague John Yates. “We’re the poorer for his passing,” he said.

FYI: Yates, a former assistant police commissioner who blocked an investigation into phone hacking, is very much alive since resigning over the scandal yesterday. He’s up for a grilling later.

[Updated at 12:27 p.m. GMT, 8:27 a.m. ET] CNN’s Jonathan Wald (@jonathanwaldcnn) is tweeting that the arrival of Associate editor of the Independent Jemima Khan, one of the more glamorous figures in the phone hacking scandal, is causing excitement outside the hearing.

“Flurry amongst the paparazzi around the queue for the #Murdochs & #Brooks hearing as #Jemima #Khan enters the building.”

[Updated at 12:23 p.m. GMT, 8:23 a.m. ET] Press Association reports that a small but noisy group of protesters wearing Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron masks are making their presence felt outside the hearing. One held a placard with "smash Murdoch's evil empire" written on it.

[Updated at 12:22 p.m. GMT, 8:22 a.m. ET] Looks like we’re already running over schedule, which means that the earlier listing timings for the first hearing have been thrown to the wind.  We could end up with the day’s two inquiries running simultaneously, but attention will certainly be focused on the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks.

[Updated at 12:17 p.m. GMT, 8:17 a.m. ET] Pop star George Michael (@georgemichael) has been tweeting about the scandal. He's had his private life delved into many times by the Murdoch press, and has had frequent run-ins with the law.

He just tweeted: "A lot of really decent policemen and women must be watching this scandal in utter horror. They have more right to their anger than you and I."

[Updated at 12:11 p.m. GMT, 8:11 a.m. ET] A bit of apparent buck-passing from Stephenson over the original phone-hacking investigation. He said he asked John Yates, another senior police figure who will be questioned later today, to look into the matter and accepted Yates’ finding that the original investigation was successful, despite the fact he reviewed evidence for just eight hours.

[Updated at 12:04 p.m. GMT, 8:04 a.m. ET] The panel is now asking questions about why an initial investigation in 2009 concluded that the phone hacking issue was not pursued further by the Metropolitan police.

Stephenson said there was "no reason whatsoever to think that there was anything wrong with the initial investigation."

[Updated at 12:00 p.m. GMT, 8:00 a.m. ET] The questions are now focusing on Stephenson’s 2009 meetings with the editor of the Guardian newspaper – which has broken many of the stories about the phone-hacking scandal. Stephenson has been accused of trying to persuade editor Alan Rusbridger to back off.

Stephenson said he was acting on information available to him at the time. He said he told the paper that the claims about phone hacking they were making were “nothing new.”

“I didn’t put pressure to lay off,” he said, adding that the meetings were not made at the advice of News of the World executive Neil Wallis.

[Updated at 11:51 a.m. GMT, 7:51 a.m. ET] We’re back to discussing News of the World executive Neil Wallis. Stephenson is being grilled on why Wallis was given a contract as a police media adviser when the Metropolitan police had dozens of press officers.

Stephenson said: “With the benefit of what we know now I’m happy to go on the record that I regret that contract, it’s embarrassing.”

[Updated at 11:47 a.m. GMT, 7:47 a.m. ET] Explaining his frequent dinner dates, Stephenson said this was proportionate to News International’s dominance of the British media.

[Updated at 11:41 a.m. GMT, 7:41 a.m. ET] Stephenson’s dietary habits are now under scrutiny. He’s being asked to explain why he had 18 lunches or dinners with News of the World executives and “seven or eight dinners” with executive Neil Wallis over a five year period.

He said it was important to improve relations between the Metropolitan police and the media.

[Updated at 11:38 a.m. GMT, 7:38 a.m. ET] The questioning has moved on to Stephenson’s acceptance of a free stay (worth $19,000) at a health spa named Champneys, which has links to News of the World executive Neil Wallis – this is the key reason for his resignation.

Stephenson is insisting he had no knowledge that Wallis was connected to Champneys. He says his stay was a legitimate part of rehabilitation from injury.

“I was recovering from a serious illness… wheelchair-bound…  concentrating on getting back to work,” he said.

He adds: “The owner of Champneys is a family friend… I paid for many treatments. It was damnably unlucky Wallis was connected to this.”

[Updated at 11:34 a.m. GMT, 7:34 a.m. ET] A moment of levity caused by what was perhaps a Freudian slip of the tongue from former police commissioner Stephenson: “When I took over as prime minister….,” he said before correcting himself.

[Updated at 11:30 a.m. GMT, 7:30 a.m. ET] Stephenson is trying hard to explain his links to Neil Wallis, the News of the World executive. Earlier he said he had no reason to suspect Wallis was linked to phone hacking. He said he first became aware of a connection in January 2011.

“Prior to that I had no reason for concern," he said.

He said he was advised by a Downing Street official not to tell David Cameron about his links to Wallis so as not to compromise the prime minister.

[Updated at 11:25 a.m. GMT, 7:25 a.m. ET] Talking about the arrest of Rebekah Brooks, the former News of the World editor, Stephenson said he was aware the arrest was going to take place up to two days prior to the event. Brooks’ spokesman on Sunday told CNN she herself was unaware she was going to be arrested.

[Updated at 11:17 a.m. GMT, 7:17 a.m. ET] Stephenson is answering questions about whether he intended to launch a personal attack on Prime Minister David Cameron when he made his resignation statement on July 17.

In that statement Stephenson made reference to Cameron’s links to Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor hired by the prime minister as a media adviser.

Stephenson insists no personal attack was intended. He rejected accusations that he implied Cameron’s integrity had been compromised.

[Updated at 11:15 a.m. GMT, 7:15 a.m. ET] Stephenson says he is not apologetic about claims he accepted hospitality from Neil Wallis, the former News of the World executive. He also said the mayor of London and Britain’s home secretary, Theresa May, accepted his resignation with regret.

"The decision was mine and mine alone" he said.

[Updated at 11:09 a.m. GMT, 7:09 a.m. ET] Former commissioner of the Metropolitan police Paul Stephenson is explaining why he resigned.

He says he was trying to remove himself from the story. He said he wanted to stand down well ahead of the 2012 London Olympics to avoid becoming a distraction. “We are in extraordinary times,” he says.

[Updated at 11:07 a.m. GMT, 7:07 a.m. ET] And we’re off. Paul Stephenson is first up before the hearing of the U.K. parliament’s home affairs select committee. Stephenson resigned on Sunday over his links to a former executive editor of the News of the World.

Keith Vaz, who will be leading the questioning the chairman of the hearing, has started by declaring an interest. He said that he was invited to a News International summer party, but did not attend.

[Updated at 11:00 a.m. GMT, 7:00 a.m. ET] CNN’s Dan Rivers has Tweeted a photograph @danrivers of the line to get into the hearings, which are open to the public. Demand for seats for the appearances of the Murdochs and Brooks is expected to be heavy.

[Updated at 10:48 GMT, 6:48 a.m. ET] Before we delve into the main event, here’s a few useful links to get you all caught up:’s main story on today’s phone hacking-related developments can be found here. And here’s some useful background material to help you wrap your head around the key players at the center of the scandal: Press baron Rupert Murdoch, his son, CEO of News International and an executive at News Corp. James Murdoch and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.

For a look back at how all this started, check out our timeline of the key events in the phone-hacking scandal.

[Updated at 10:32 GMT, 6:32 a.m. ET] We'll get started with a rundown of who will be at the hearings today. There are two sessions. The first is a direct hearing on the phone hacking, which will see senior police figures give evidence. The second is a standing government committee, to which senior News Corp. figures have been called to face questions.

First up at 11:00 a.m GMT, 7:00 a.m. ET is Paul Stephenson, who resigned as commissioner of London’s Metropolitan police force at the weekend because of the phone hacking scandal. At 11:45 a.m., GMT, 7:45 a.m. ET we have Dick Fedorcio, the director of public affairs at the Met. At 12.15 p.m. GMT, 8:15 a.m. ET we have John Yates, who resigned on Monday as assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, again as a result of the phone hacking scandal.

The second session, a hearing of the U.K. parliament’s culture committee, is the main attraction of the day. At 1:30 p.m. GMT, 9:30 a.m. ET Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch are due to face questions. At 2:30 p.m. GMT, 10:30 a.m. ET we have Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the News of the World newspaper that was at the epicenter of the scandal.

They are expected followed by, Lord MacDonald, a former director of public prosecutions at 4:30 p.m. GMT, 12:30 p.m. ET; Keir Starmer, current director of public prosecutions at 5:00 p.m. GMT, 1:00 p.m. ET and then at 5:20 p.m. GMT, 1:20 p.m. ET we have Mark Lewis, the legal representative of the Dowler family, whose murdered daughter’s phone was targeted by hackers.

[Posted at 10:17 GMT, 6:10 a.m. ET] News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, his son James and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks are due to testify Tuesday before British lawmakers investigating the phone-hacking scandal.

Lawmakers on the before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee will want to know what the Murdoch family knew - and when - about the alleged illegal interception of telephone messages of individuals ranging from celebrities and politicians to murder victims and the families of those killed in terror attacks and wars.

Murdoch is engaged in a frantic damage limitation exercise after it was alleged that News of the World had hacked into the phone of Milly Dowler, a teenager who was murdered. The allegation sparked fury in Britain; News International bosses, politicians and police have been trying to defuse the anger ever since.

We'll be live-blogging the hearings from start to finish here.

soundoff (632 Responses)
  1. JP0

    The buck stops...over there.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CorpGreedSux

    way to go foam pie guy!

    July 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gman21

    The face of Fox is coming out. Hate can take you only so far. Fox news has been spreading cancerous venom in the American society while they were involved in dubious activities. Hope it is their payback time.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edward

      AMEN.....all of that BS from James Murdoch about News Corp's high standards of integrity made me gag. Who is he kidding? Not anyone who has seen five minutes of Fox News. AND HOW ABOUT THIS......WHY WAS THE FORMER NYC SCHOOLS' CHANCELLOR JOEL KLEIN SITTING RIGHT BEHIND JAMES MURDOCH? not sure I like the idea of a chum of the Murdochs educating our kids.

      July 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim Green

    Murdoch ignored this until he couldn't – so obviously he's not the "man" to clean this up. He's dirtied himself by ignoring it for the past several years. And now he's still trying to worm out of it – geeze – have a little pride dude. Take your licks and get out of our lives.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Foam Party

    Too bad it wasn't Draino foam..

    July 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Edward

    We can't blame Murdoch of what happened. If we do so, we have to blame all governants because in their countries, every moment every day there are wrongdoings which if being totally strict, are their responsability. Murdoch only can be indicted if there is a real proof that he by himself violated the law or if he knew anything about this.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Liberal

      Maybe YOU can't blame him, but I sure as heck can and do. The buck stops with the top dog. Mr. Murdoch is getting what he deserves. No pity here.

      July 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 2tired2care

    The super rich are above the law.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. marcus

    Hate Rupert Murdoch all you want (and there is plenty of legitimate reasons to hate him) but throwing a foam pie at an 80 year old man, is pretty lame. That guy more then likely just an attention seeking loser.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Liberal

      Hacking a dead child's cell phone for messages is even lamer and pathetic.

      July 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. No Fan

    I'm curious how many of the people happily commenting here would be pleased if a pie was thrown in the face of Julian Assange during a hearing? I'm no fan of Murdoch, but idiots like this guy with the pie only help to push hearings and process out of the public eye. Stunts like this just get the public and media banned. And what do you think people will talk about now in recounting the hearing today? How Murdoch said earlier “the people I employed or perhaps the people they employed” are to blame and "I'm not in touch" or the fact that some fool lobbed a plate of shaving creme his way?

    July 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michigan

    I was just viewing CNN discussion on Murdoch getting foam in his face . I cannot believe that this CNN host was visible/Verbal upset about the foam in the face. My question is: Are you being paid by Murdoch? that you are so upset about this? He deserves the damn foam in the face! His company have been turning the tides on accurate news reporting by buying up most of American news company and Europe and Asia. There is NO CREDIBLE REPORTING because of this man. Heck he should have gotten a real pie in the face! for what is company did and continue to do!!

    July 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |

    Did AJ Burnett make it all the way to Parliament? It's about all he does right these days.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AliJ

    HAHA. He deserved it...

    July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Peter

    He richly deserved that pie. Of course he knew and approved of hacking and who knows what other sordid things his companies did. He is an authoritarian and micromanages all his companies. Do not feel any sympathy for this mafioso family.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jdog

    "Phone hacking, it's a total disgrace"

    But you profited handsomely form it, now didn't you Rupert....

    July 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gadger

    pie in the sky if you ask me!

    July 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29