Former Mirror editor Piers Morgan told Rebekah Brooks that he knew what her splash was in January 2003 because he had been “listening to messages”, the Old Bailey was told today.
Morgan was attending a dinner party for Andy Coulson’s birthday at a steak restaurant in Balham, south London when the comments were made.
Appearing over video link from the United States, witness Ambi Sitham said there was a “pointedness” to the exchange between Brooks and Morgan.
Sitham was giving evidence on day 30 of the hacking trial.
The court heard that Sitham was a media lawyer and attended the party with her then boyfriend who was a close friend of Coulson.
She said Morgan and Brooks were both very busy.
"At the time they were both editors of quite big national tabloid newspapers, and they were both very busy trying to finish off the last details of their front covers, or splashes, for their newspapers. They were engaged in some banter about their respective front covers.
"Basically, Piers said to Rebekah that he already knew what her splash was going to be. He said 'I already know what your splash is, or your cover is, because I've been listening to messages'."
Asked by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC how Brooks responded, Sitham said: "She retorted, 'been hacking into my phone again, have you, Piers?'
"He said something like, 'well you've been looking at my emails' or something. It was quite a quick back and forth of bantering, I just know what I heard.
"It was her saying to him, 'you've been listening to my messages', he said, 'you've been looking at my emails' and her saying 'I've left a false trail, I've led you up the garden path'."
Asked how they appeared, she said: "It was pointed. There was a pointedness to it."
All of the defendants deny all of the charges.
The trial continues.