Jul. 17th, 2011

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Jay Rock can convene his own hearings. FCC license holders must be of "good character".

Mr Rockefeller heads the Senate commerce committee and is considering opening his own hearings.
Congressional investigators have powerful rights to subpoena individuals and documents.
If they turned up any evidence of transatlantic collusion with criminal activities in the UK, which could simply be email exchanges, phone records or financial book-keeping, then the fall-out would be explosive. US law requires that holders of broadcast licences issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) be of "good character".

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Keith Vaz, chairman of Commons committee which summonsed her to testify Tuesday, says the arrest will make it impossible for her to answer substantive questions.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who led a recent House of Commons debate on phone hacking, questioned whether her arrest was a 'ruse' ahead of the committee hearing.
He told Sky News: 'I don't want to overstress that argument but it's unusual to be arrested on Sunday by appointment - why couldn't that have happened tomorrow or Wednesday or whenever?'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015677/Rebekah-Brooks-arrested-phone-hacking-scandal-News-International.html#ixzz1SNulf62b
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Jude Law claims NotW hacked his phone while he was in America. That opens the Murdochs up for possible prosecution here.

Brian Kabateck, a Los Angeles lawyer who has represented victims of phone hacking in the U.S. told the Daily Telegraph: 'If phones or messages were hacked while these individuals were here in the US, this would clearly be a criminal offence under the federal wiretap acts.
'The authorities take this very seriously here. As well as being an offence under federal status, the victims would also have the right to bring a civil damages case.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015624/Rupert-Murdoch-face-US-court-Jude-Law-phone-hacking-NY-claim.html#ixzz1SO58nlYF

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Sir Paul has been outed accepting a free $17,000 stay at a spa whose PR guy is the newly arrested former NotW editor, Wallis, that Sir Paul hired as Scotland Yard's media consultant on the NotW phone hacking inquiry.

Various stories say Scotland Yard paid the spa fee and others say it didn't. The spa owner disputes there was any connection between the PR guy and Sir Paul's alleged freebie.

A Met [Scotland Yard] spokesman confirmed last night that the Commissioner had stayed for free at Champneys while recovering from the fracture. The medical treatment he received there was paid for by Scotland Yard. But the spokesman denied any suggestion of impropriety.

Sir Paul is scheduled for questioning at the same House of Commons inquiry to which the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks have been summonsed. Boneheadedness and cop petulance seem to be the defense. Yates and another clown testified before the Commons last week that they hadn't pursued the hacking inquiry because NotW wouldn't cooperate. Despite the MPs -- and the world's -- laughter, this defense is still being mounted by Scotland Yard:

On the same day, Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, will be grilled by the home affairs select committee on the police’s failure to fully investigate the hacking in 2005 and 2006 and again in 2009.
He will be asked why he employed Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World who was arrested last week, as a media adviser. Sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that Sir Paul’s job as Britain’s most senior police officer is now under threat and his performance at the committee could be the deciding factor in whether he survives. Last night, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, offered him only lukewarm support.
Senior officers at Scotland Yard are furious that they are taking a large share of the blame when News International blocked inquiries. The source said News International had given assurances that they were co-operating fully in the initial investigation and that, as a result, it was impossible for police to obtain court orders allowing them to seize further material that would have proved a wider conspiracy.


I say Sir Paul will not be arrested but will be fired. Or his assistants, Yates and...(TK) will be.

James? Will be fired from his BSkyB chairmanship, from his News Corp. positions, and will be arrested on inconclusive evidence (nevertheless persuasive to me) around his paying hush money to one phone hacking victim. As this payout case apparently also involves NotW legal manager Tom Crone (who resigned with a £1.5 million payout pegged to a gag order), I'm looking to see some kind of legal action there, like Crone selling James out for immunity.

This just in:
A senior Scotland Yard officer has told The Sunday Telegraph that News International executives – including Mr Murdoch’s son James – are being investigated for any alleged role in covering up the extent of “industrial scale” phone hacking.
The Metropolitan Police want to know why a series of emails, dating back to 2006, were only made available to detectives in January, prompting the current inquiry that has led in the past two weeks to the closure of the News of the World, the resignations of executives Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton, the arrest of Andy Coulson and the scrapping of News Corporation’s proposed takeover of BSkyB.
The source said: “News International appears to have covered up this scandal. That is potentially a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. It would have to be proved that James Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks or any other senior executive knew the information handed over in 2011 was actually in the system in 2006 and suppressed it.


I think this, former British treasury minister Lord Myners calling for James' ouster from BSkyB, was the kiss of death for James -- the analog of Prince Saud's call for the ouster of Brooks. Pretty much all I want to know is whether or not Lord Myners allowed himself to be filmed making the announcement on his yacht at Cannes, fingering his worry beads.

The flame-haired editrix got £3.5 million pay out/gag order (reportedly except for criminal investigations); it'll be interesting to see if she cops a plea. I say she won't, in hopes of additional future payouts from News Corp.

£3.5 million doesn't go far when you have to arrive at Elisabeth Murdoch power parties in your own copter.

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If, as seems likely, her arrest prevents her from giving public evidence on Tuesday to MPs on the culture, media and sport Commons committee, her many friends in high places may be slightly relieved.

In the current climate of criticism of News International, there will be quite a few powerful people who would be pleased if the brightest possible media light isn't shone on their close and personal relationship with Mrs Brooks.

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Opening a new front in legal issues for News International and its UK publishing subsidiary, News Corp., Britain's Serious Fraud Office is pondering an investigation into the six-figure settlements News Corp. has made with its hacking victims. It is not clear whether police bribes and £8.5 million in gag-order payouts to former execs are to be investigated.

A crusading MP has asked the SFO to do so. No confirmation or denial, per usual practice, from the SFO that it will.

Since James Murdoch's only admitted role in the phone-hacking scandal is signing off on a six-figure settlement to one hacking victim, a query into whether or not News Corp. was misallocating its funds would target James, as well as apparently making shareholders of News International victims of the fraud. Britain's Channel 4 finance dude Faisal Islam also asserts that the Serious Fraud Office would be the agent in Britain of any U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

FYI, here's the link to the magisterial 10/10 NYT Mag piece on the whole scandal -- the forest and the trees of the last 10 days' narrative. It is alleged to be the cannonade across the SS Rupe's bow by the NYT, targeted by Rupe as a rival and an enemy of his Manhattan sinecure, the Wall Street Journal.


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