James Murdoch is in trouble. Yes, again. The New York Times reports that Murdoch, despite claiming the contrary to Parliament during testimony, was alerted to the fact that there was widespread phone hacking at News of The World, as early as June 7, 2008.
Murdoch has consistently said that he knew nothing of the documentation — which showed evidence of the hacking, and a reply from Murdoch saying that he wanted to discuss things in person — while others insisted that he had. A look at what was uncovered in the email chain:
One lawyer says the case [a lawsuit by someone who claimed to be hacked] is a ‘nightmare scenario,’ because it might uncover other voicemail interceptions and names other journalists implicated, the other notes that Mr. Taylor [the person suing] wants to demonstrate that hacking was ‘rife throughout the organization.’ As he forwarded the chain to Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Myler [editor of News of the World] warned that the situation was ‘as bad as we feared’ and requests a meeting to discuss the matter further. Mr. Murdoch’s reply offering to talk came two minutes later.
Now how is James going to escape this? It’s right there. He got the email. He replied. Murdoch’s defense? He opened the emails on his Blackberry, and didn’t actually read the full contents. A creative try by James — who hasn’t used the Blackberry defense to get out of family gatherings and the like — but we think he might have to come up with something better very soon.