Piers Morgan was not treated too kindly by the just-released Leveson Report, which called his testimony about phone hacking "utterly unpersuasive."
The CNN host and former British tabloid editor gave testimony to the inquiry into the ethics of the British press back in December. There, he was confronted with past statements he had made about phone hacking, both in his book and in interviews. Other witnesses also testified that he told them how to hack into phones.
While Morgan has freely admitted to knowing about the practice, he has vociferously denied allegations that he condoned it at the Mirror, and no concrete evidence has ever been found tying him to hacking. The newspaper has, however, been sued by people who claim their phones were hacked during his editorship.
Lord Justice Leveson, who chaired the inquiry, devoted a small chunk of his voluminous report to Morgan's testimony. He concentrated on a 2007 interview Morgan gave in which he called phone hacking an "investigative practice that everyone knows was going on at almost every paper in Fleet Street for years." Morgan said he was "passing on rumors."
"This was not, in any sense at all, a convincing answer," Leveson wrote. "Overall, Mr. Morgan's attempt to push back from his own bullish statement to the Press Gazette was utterly unpersuasive," Leveson wrote.
He added that there was not evidence to establish that Morgan authorized phone hacking, or that the Mirror engaged in the practice. But he chastised Morgan for being "sufficiently unembarrassed by what was criminal behavior that he was prepared to joke about it."
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