Five employees who worked at The Trinity Mirror newspaper group have now been arrested in connection with the celebrity phone-hacking scandal, Bloomberg reports.CNN host Piers Morgan is a former editor of The Mirror, and of the News of the World, the Rupert Murdoch paper that was shuttered when the scandal first broke. To be clear, Morgan has not been accused of any wrongdoing. But Bloomberg says “a former Daily Mirror reporter later testified … that hacking took place on a daily basis among the newspaper’s show-business reporters.”
How, exactly, Morgan got one of his most famous voicemail-related scoops remains shrouded in mystery. When asked under oath at the British parliament’s inquiry as to how he listened to a voicemail of Paul McCartney pleading with his former wife Heather Mills, he declined to answer, saying only: “I’m not going to start any trail that leads to the identification of a source.”
Morgan has previously denied he published any story based on hacking: “I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.”
But that denial will take some explaining in the light of these previously reported events:
- Former NOTW reporter Paul McMullan officially linked Morgan’s name to Lord Justice Leveson’s probe of tabloid phone hacking. Here’s exactly what McMullan said: “My first editor, Piers Morgan, very much set the trend. He was, ‘I want that story at all costs. I don’t care what you had to do to get that story.'”
- Morgan and the 13th person arrested in the scandal, James Desborough, both worked at News Corp.’s News of the World and both worked on the story of Paul McCartney’s divorce from Heather Mills, which is said to be based on voicemails.
- Morgan has denied listening to Mills’ voicemails even though in 2006 he relished retailing an anecdote in which he was somehow able to listen to Mill’s voicemails of McCartney pleading with her to come back to him.
- James Hipwell, a financial journalist under Morgan at The Mirror, said at the time that hacking was regarded as “a bit of a wheeze.”
- Hipwell said in 2006 that he hacked the phone of the Spice Girls and other stars.
- Mirror showbiz reporter James “Scottie” Scott said earlier this year that he assisted on one of the biggest scoops the Mirror published under Morgan’s tenure — the voicemails of England football coach Sven-Goran Ericksson’s affair with a TV presenter.
- Morgan boasted of this in the Daily Mail in 2009.
- The same year, Morgan told the BBC that he knew of hacking going on.
- In 2011, he told Naomi Campbell, in GQ magazine, the same thing.
- In 2005, he wrote in his autobiography that he knew how to hack a phone.
- In 2007, he told the U.K. Press Gazette that “everyone” in London’s newspaper business knew hacking was going on.
Doubtless there is an innocent explanation for all of this.
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