News Corp Lawyer Noted Hacking Culture

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James Murdoch

James Murdoch

WSJ.com reports: Newly released documents show that an outside lawyer for News Corp. in 2008 warned of a "culture of illegal information access" at the company's News of the World newspaper, raising new questions about News Corp.'s longtime assertion that it was unaware of how widespread phone hacking was at the now-closed tabloid.

The lawyer's opinion, and other documents released Tuesday by Parliament's Culture, Sport and Media Committee, add to already mounting pressure on top News Corp. executives, including Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch, who has insisted he was in the dark about the extent of illegal reporting tactics at the time.

The committee is looking at whether News Corp. executives misled lawmakers investigating the scandal over the past few years.

The documents released Tuesday show that company lawyers—both a News Corp. insider and outside attorneys assisting with litigation over phone hacking—were aware that phone hacking at News of the World went beyond a single rogue reporter. The lingering question is whether their findings were brought to the attention of top company officials such as Murdoch, whose statements have been contradicted publicly by former underlings.

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