The Cutline

Piers Morgan to testify in phone-hacking case next week

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

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Morgan (CNN)

Piers Morgan, CNN host, reality show judge and former U.K. tabloid editor, will appear next week in front of a committee investigating the News of the World phone-hacking case.

Lord Justice Leveson, who is leading the inquiry, said on Thursday that Morgan--former editor of News of the World and Daily Mirror--would be asked to "explain himself" and the comments he made in 2007 about widespread phone-hacking among the British press. CNN confirmed that Morgan will appear before the committee sometime next week.

In July, Morgan's name came up twice during a Parliamentary hearing into News Corp.'s phone hacking, when a conservative member of Parliament suggested Morgan admitted to knowledge of phone hacking activity in his 2005 book, "The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade."

After the hearing, Morgan, who was not in attendance, lashed out.

"For the record, in my time at 'The Mirror' and the 'News of the World,' I have never hacked a phone, told anybody to hack a phone or published any story based on the hacking of a phone," Morgan said on CNN.

But in a 2007 interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell in British GQ, Morgan said that hacking phones was not "as serious as planting a bug in someone's house."

"It was pretty well-known that if you didn't change your pin code when you were a celebrity who bought a new phone, then reporters could ring your mobile, tap in a standard factory setting number and hear your messages," Morgan told Campbell. "That is not, to me, as serious as planting a bug in someone's house, which is what some people seem to think was going on."

He added: "Loads of newspaper journalists were doing it. Clive Goodman, the News of the World reporter, has been made the scapegoat for a very widespread practice."

Also on Thursday, Howard Stern announced that he will be replacing Morgan as a judge on "America's Got Talent" next year.

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