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CNN’s Piers Morgan rejects phone hacking claims
Media » Former News of the World editor questioned by U.K. panel.


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Morgan was also quizzed about the cozy relationship between Murdoch and former Prime Minister Tony Blair — a line of questioning which drew a heavy hint that the News Corp. executive chairman may himself testify before the inquiry.

At one point, inquiry lawyer Robert Jay told Morgan to stop speculating about what Murdoch might have remembered about a particular incident in which the two clashed.

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"We can ask him for his recollection of events when we get there," Jay said.

A spokesman for the inquiry declined to elaborate, and News Corp. did not immediately return an email seeking confirmation. In July, Murdoch gave dramatic testimony before Parliament in which he denied any responsibility for phone hacking at his flagship Sunday tabloid, which he shut in the wake of the scandal.

Meanwhile, News Corp. announced settlements with seven more prominent figures victimized by the paper.

The company said in a statement Tuesday it had settled claims brought by Princess Diana’s former lover James Hewitt, ex-Liberal Democrat lawmaker Mark Oaten, TV anchor Ulrika Jonsson, model Abi Titmuss and Paul Dadge, who helped rescue victims of the 2005 London transit bombings. Theatrical agent Michelle Milburn and Calum Best, the son of soccer legend George Best, rounded out the settlement list.

At least one more settlement — with former England soccer player Paul Gascoigne — appeared imminent, according to lawyer Jeremy Reed.

The terms of the new payments were not disclosed, but they are likely to be substantial. Sienna Miller received nearly $157,000 (100,000 pounds) when she settled with News International, while the family of a murdered British schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, was awarded $3.1 million (2 million pounds), plus an additional $1.6 million (1 million pounds) from Murdoch himself that was earmarked for charity.

Police say the number of potential phone hacking victims could be in the thousands.

CNN broadcast Morgan’s appearance live — but only on its international station.


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