The former managing editor of the News of the World tabloid denied conspiring to intercept voice-mail messages after being shown a series of payments he approved to the investigator at the center of News Corp.’s phone-hacking scandal.
Stuart Kuttner was shown details of payments made to the detective, Glenn Mulcaire, through companies and aliases on the second day of his testimony at a London criminal court. Under questioning from his lawyer, Jonathan Caplan, Kuttner said the disbursements were part of a huge volume of financial documents he oversaw at the newspaper, then the country’s best-selling.
Kuttner, 74, is one of seven people on trial over phone hacking and bribes to public officials by journalists at News Corp. publications. He’s charged with conspiracy to intercept voice-mail messages between 2000 and 2006 along with former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.
“There is a fundamental misunderstanding that there was some kind of device used to cook the books,” Kuttner said today. “I cannot say more strongly how untrue that is.”
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch closed the weekly News of the World in 2011 following the scandal caused by the discovery that journalists had listened to messages on the phone of a murdered teenager. Kuttner told police in 2011 that he never listened to tapes of the voice-mail message obtained from the mobile phone of the schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, prosecutors said earlier in the trial.
“The idea that I would conceal anything from the management of the company” or executives “is utterly baseless,” Kuttner said. “It is not me. I did not do that in this case or any case.”
Mulcaire pleaded guilty to phone-hacking charges, including one related to Dowler, before the trial began. He was also jailed in 2007 for intercepting voice mails of aides to the royal family.
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