The Cutline

Another arrest in U.K. phone-hacking scandal, this one with American implications

Joe Pompeo
The Cutline

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(AP/Matt Dunham)

Two days after an explosive 2007 letter surfaced suggesting News Corp. executives were aware of the extent to which journalists at the News of the World tabloid were engaging in criminal behavior to get scoops, British police have arrested the now-defunct tabloid's award-winning former Hollywood editor, James Desborough, on "suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications," The Guardian reports.

Desborough is the 13th person taken into custody in connection with the phone-hacking allegations, including former News of the World editor-in-chief Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, also a former editor at the paper, who went on to head up News International, News Corp's British division, before resigning last month.

There has been much speculation over whether or not phone-hacking ever took place in the United States. "If Desborough was involved in hacking while in Britain, as police appear to believe he was, it raises the question of whether he practised those techniques in the U.S.--and if so, whether he was the first and only News of the World journalist in the U.S. to do so," The Guardian's Amelia Hill writes.

It is looking likely that James Murdoch, the son of News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch, will be called back to testify before British Parliament in light of the letter released on Tuesday, which suggests that executives within the company may have orchestrated a cover-up.

The correspondence, dated March 2, 2007, was written by Clive Goodman, News of the World's former royal correspondent, who did jail time for tapping into the voicemail of news subjects.

In the letter, he wrote that phone-hacking was "widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor."

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