NYT: Phone-hacking scandal defence letter was 're-written'

A letter written in defence against allegations of phone-hacking at the News of the World was re-written to satisfy News International, it has been claimed.

The New York Times, reports that the law firm Harbottle & Lewis produced the letter in 2007 after the firm was hired to review the emails of the tabloid’s former editor Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman, the former royal reporter jailed for phone hacking in 2007.

The letter was written in a manner which exonerated senior editors from awareness of any ‘illegal actions’ and insinuated that hacking was not prevalent at the paper – the NYT notes.

According to the NYT, previous drafts of the letter are said to have been rejected by News International as the language was not broad enough regarding evidence of other criminality.

The New York Times reports that in one email from 2003, Goodman had complained to then editor Coulson about a management push to reduce cash payments to sources. Another email is said to highlight Goodman’s fears about going into detail on email about cash payments as everyone involved could “go to prison for this”.

On Friday, former News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire issued a statement insisting that he was following orders in taking the actions he did to hack phone messages.

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