James Murdoch attempted to shift blame in a phone hacking scandal, telling a media ethics inquiry today in London that he didn’t really read his British newspapers, The Associated Press reported.
Murdoch, 39, was in charge at News of the World when reporters hacked hundreds of voicemail accounts of notable British figures, including politicians, celebrities, athletes and a teenage murder victim.
He told the Leveson inquiry that News of the World editor Colin Myler and lawyer Tom Crone kept him in the dark about the depth of the scandal.
“I was given assurances by them, which proved to be wrong,” Murdoch said, according to the AP.
Prime Minister David Cameron established the inquiry to investigate media influence in politics, and to determine if reporters operate above the law, Reuters said.
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Murdoch’s father, Rupert, is slated to testify on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rupert Murdoch, 81, closed News of the World after the scandal, which spawned the inquiry, more than 100 lawsuits and three police investigations.
Many saw James Murdoch as the likely successor to News Corp’s empire. He repeatedly told the Leveson inquiry he had little knowledge of the scandal’s scope.
“I wasn’t in the business of deciding what to put in the newspapers,” Murdoch said, according to Reuters.
“I wouldn’t say I read all of it,” he said about News of the World.
Murdoch resigned from leading News International in February after assuming the post in 2007, BBC said.
He said he didn’t read an incriminating email sent to him that pointed to wider use of phone hacking, and believed the practice was a “thing in the past,” according to BBC.
“I didn’t read the email chain. It was a Saturday, I had just come back from Hong Kong; I was with my children. I responded in minutes,” Murdoch said at the inquiry, BBC reported.
He also didn’t get involved when News of the World reached an out-of-court settlement with a victim of the hacking.
“The fact it suggested other people might have been involved in phone hacking – that part of its importance was not imparted to me that day,” he said, according to BBC.
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