Piers Morgan testifies on phone hacking

Dec. 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

LONDON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Piers Morgan, a British tabloid editor who now has a talk show on CNN, said Tuesday he did not know reporters at the Daily Mirror were hacking phones.

Morgan gave testimony to the Leveson Commission in London by video link from the United States, The Guardian reported. Morgan worked briefly for the News of the World, the Sunday tabloid closed by Rupert Murdoch after the hacking scandal escalated, followed by 10 years at the Mirror.

Morgan was grilled about statements he made in a book, articles and interviews. In one interview he described hacking as "a very widespread practice … loads of newspaper journalists were doing it."

He criticized The Guardian, which published stories this year about News of the World reporters hacking into the cellphones of crime victims and their families. Morgan called the newspaper's staff the "bishops of Fleet Street" and said The Guardian took advantage of information obtained by hacking or by going through trash.

The commission headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson is investigating hacking and other information-gathering practices by the press. The panel may recommend new regulations against invasion of privacy.

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