Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has been hit by ‘totally unsubstantial allegations’at the Leveson Inquiry which she believes are ‘bound to prejudice’the police investigation into phone-hacking, she told MPs.
Brooks has issued a written response to questions from the House of Commons culture committee about her role in last year’s out-of-court settlement with PR man Max Clifford over claims his phone had been hacked by the News of the World.
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Brooks was arrested on 17 July by detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking and illegal payment to police.
In her letter dated 1 December Brooks said she had been questioned by police over her involvement in the Clifford settlement and so was placed in an ‘impossible position’when asked to answer questions on it.
She said this was the ‘second occasion this week in which I have found that an investigation can impact on the criminal process”.
She added: ‘(On Tuesday [29 November], at the Leveson Inquiry, I was subjected to totally unsubstantiated allegations by a witness which, I am advised, is bound to prejudice the police investigation against me
‘This evidence attracted widespread publicity, and my lawyers wrote yesterday to express their concern about the way in which this evidence emerged and the prejudice to my case that it has caused.”
The date 29 November was the day former deputy features editor Paul McMullan gave evidence to the inquiry.
In a separate letter to the committee, lawyers acting for News Corp said Brooks had negotiated an out-of-court settlement totalling nearly £700,000 with Clifford, in a deal that included a £200,000 annual retainer if Clifford continued to help with stories.