LONDON (AP) — Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks on Wednesday denied covering up the wide extent of phone hacking at the newspaper, but acknowledged paying a PR guru 1 million pounds "in part" to stop allegations against the tabloid's editors coming out in court.
Brooks testified that as chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper division she brokered the seven-figure settlement with publicist Max Clifford, partly to stop a lawsuit over the alleged hacking of his phone. The newspaper feared private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007 for illegal eavesdropping, would appear in court and name journalists who had allegedly instructed him to hack phones.
Brooks, who was cross-examined in the witness box at a London court, said the deal was to "protect the company" because no one knew what Mulcaire might say. She said Clifford also agreed to supply celebrity stories to the newspaper.
Brooks said the News of the World's claim — repeated over several years — that hacking had been carried out only by Mulcaire and royal reporter Clive Goodman "was believed to be true at the time." She acknowledged, however, that police had told her as early as 2006 that there could be more than 100 hacking victims.
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