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Editor: Hugh Grant smeared Daily Mail

Feb. 9, 2012 at 4:53 PM

LONDON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The top editor of the company that owns Britain's Daily Mail accused Hugh Grant on Thursday of trying to drag the newspaper into the phone hacking scandal.

Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers, testified before the Leveson Commission. The panel headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson is trying to determine if Britain needs new regulations to protect privacy.

Also Thursday, Heather Mills denied she played voice mail messages left by her ex-husband, Paul McCartney, for Piers Morgan, a former Daily Mirror editor, The Guardian reported. She said the only way Morgan, now with CNN in the United States, could have heard the messages was by hacking into her cell phone.

Dacre said that Grant, who testified on the opening day of the hearings, is "obsessed with trying to drag the Daily Mail into another newspaper's scandal" and has engaged in "mendacious smears" about the newspaper.

In his testimony, Dacre said the Mail paid Grant damages after getting some facts wrong in a story about his relationship with Jemma Khan.

At the end of the day, Leveson said the hearings will resume in two weeks. He said the panel heard 184 witnesses in 40 days of testimony in the "first module," the Guardian said.

The commission was set up after The Guardian reported last year that a private detective working for the now-closed News of the World had hacked into a missing schoolgirl's phone. Millie Dowler's body was found six months after she vanished in 2002.

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