A journalist at News Corp.’s News of the World told Andy Coulson, the tabloid’s editor, to halt payments of 2,000 pounds ($3,200) a week to an investigator who was employed to intercept voice-mail messages for stories.
Ian Edmondson, the 44-year-old former news editor of the U.K. tabloid, told Coulson and Managing Editor Stuart Kuttner in a 2005 e-mail that the payments to Glenn Mulcaire “had to stop,” Sallie Bennett-Jenkins, Edmondson’s lawyer, told a London court today.
Coulson, 45, Kuttner and Edmondson are among eight people on trial in London related to wrongdoing at News Corp. tabloids. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World in 2011 in an attempt to contain a scandal over revelations that the tabloid had hacked the phone of a missing teenager.
“The 2,000 pounds a week payments to Greg’s investigations man has to stop,” Edmondson said in the e-mail referring to Greg Miskiw, a News of the World colleague who has pleaded guilty to conspiring to hack phones. “I have spoken about this a million times and I do not think I need to say any more.”
Mulcaire has also pleaded guilty to conspiring to hack phones, including that of Milly Dowler, causing the scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World.
The private investigator used to call into the News of the World news desk and called himself Mr. Lemon or Mr. Strawberry, Bennett-Jenkins said. Journalists at the tabloid would joke about this “Walter Mitty character,” she said.
Rebekah Brooks, another former News of the World editor who later became head of News Corp. (NWS)’s U.K. unit, is also on trial in the case. Prosecutors allege journalists at the Sunday tabloid and the daily Sun newspaper hacked phones and paid bribes to public officials for stories.
Brooks, 45, is also charged with conspiring to destroy evidence in July 2011 when the furor over phone hacking was at its apex. Brooks’s husband, her former assistant Cheryl Carter, and the U.K. unit’s former head of security, Mark Hanna, also face charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Another journalist, Clive Goodman, is charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office while he was the royal reporter at the News of the World.
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