Parliament Opens New Hearings Into News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal

A U.K. parliamentary panel opened new hearings today to determine whether News Corp. COO James Murdoch knew about hacked voicemail messages ordered by the company’s now defunct News of the World publication, and thus misled the Parliament. In a July testimony, Murdoch insisted that he had no knowledge of phone hacking at the tabloid, but two former executives challenged his comments as “mistaken.” Their testimony before the panel today is intended to discover “whether or not James Murdoch was aware of the so-called ‘for Neville e-mail,” a 2005 missive containing transcripts of hacked phone messages. That email emerged in a 2008 lawsuit in which Murdoch “chose to make a record $1.4 million settlement, which also included a confidentiality clause.” Murdoch testified in July that the settlement “made financial sense,” and was not intended “to disguise the truth.” Today’s testimony of the two executives that conflict Murdoch’s account will help “determine whether the panel recalls [James Murdoch] to give further evidence.”