The war of words between James Murdoch and one of his former top lawyers escalated on Thursday.
Murdoch caused a stir during his testimony before a parliamentary committee when he insisted that Tom Crone, the former chief legal director for News International, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler had misled Parliament in their earlier testimony in September. Crone and Myler swore that they had informed Murdoch that phone hacking was widespread at the paper, something that Murdoch has vehemently denied.
Under heated questioning from MP Tom Watson, Murdoch said that he thought their testimony was misleading. He claimed that Crone and Myler only gave him limited information about the notorious "For Neville" email, which contained transcripts of hacked voicemail messages and served as proof of the wider degree of phone hacking at the News of the World.
After Murdoch's testimony ended, Crone released a statement in which he stood by his previous assertions. He called Murdoch's testimony "at best...disingenuous," and said he had told Parliament the truth.
As it now stands, Murdoch, Crone and Myler are in a "he said-they said" situation, with both sides refusing to budge. It remains to be seen exactly how a definitive version of what really happened between the three men can be nailed down.
Crone's statement reads:
It is regrettable, but I can perfectly understand why James Murdoch felt the need to discredit Colin Myler and myself.
"The simple truth is that he was told by us in 2008 about the damning email and what it meant in terms of wider News of the World involvement.
"It seems he now accepts he was told of the email, of the fact that it contained transcripts of voicemail interceptions and that those interceptions were authorised by the News of the World.
"Perhaps Mr Murdoch could explain who he thought was doing the authorising at the News of the World?
"At best, his evidence on this matter was disingenuous.
"For the record, I did not 'mislead the committee' about the evidence being confined to a 'single rogue reporter'. If anyone cares to read the full answer I gave to Q1339 during the 2009 evidence to the CMS select committee, they will see that I clearly accepted the 'for Neville' email meant 'that the problem of accessing by our reporters, or complicity of accessing by our reporters, went beyond the Goodman/Mulcaire situation'.
A phone hacking timeline:
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