Former News International executives on Tuesday challenged testimony given by their bosses — Rupert and James Murdoch — with one saying the media mogul had gotten it wrong when he blamed outside lawyers for improperly investigating the company’s tabloid phone hacking scandal.
Jonathan Chapman, the former director of legal affairs with News International, said Rupert Murdoch wasn’t being accurate when he told Parliament that he blamed the London law firm Harbottle and Lewis for failing to uncover the scope of the scandal back in 2007. News International is the British arm of Murdoch’s global News Corp. media empire.
“I don’t think Mr. Murdoch had his facts right,” Mr. Chapman told lawmakers. “He was wrong.”
Mr. Chapman was one of four executives fielding questions from Parliament’s media committee about what they knew and when - and three have of them already cast serious doubt on the testimony given by the Murdoch family earlier this summer.
The hacking scandal has decimated Mr. Murdoch’s British newspaper arm, leading to the closure of its top-selling Sunday tabloid, News of the World, and the arrests of more than a dozen journalists.
It has also rocked the top levels of Britain’s political and police elite. Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor and until recently one of Prime Minister David Cameron’s top aides, has resigned, as have the two top officers with Scotland Yard. Mr. Coulson was one of those arrested in the scandal.
The publisher of The Wall Street Journal, a longtime Murdoch employee, has also resigned in the scandal.