Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 28 Apr

Monday 28 April 2014

Summary
The Cross-Examination of Andy Coulson Continues
The prosecution questions Coulson on Thurlbeck and the Blunkett tapes
Coulson asked if he lied to Blunkett
Coulson’s contact with Brooks at the time of the Blunkett story
Coulson questioned on who knew about the tapes
Coulson Recruitment of Dan Evans
Turning Mobiles
Cash Payments to Place Police and the Green Books
The Gordon Taylor Story
The Charles Clarke Story
Budgets and Big Spends

The Cross-Examination of Andy Coulson Continues
The prosecution questions Coulson on Thurlbeck and the Blunkett tapes
Back at the #hackingtrial: legal argument before the jury are in around 11.30
Jury now back at #hackingtrial – Edis continues with his cross examination of Coulson and conversation with Thurlbeck 24/07/04
Coulson confirms he was “angry” with Thurlbeck for the Blunkett voicemails
Coulson says Thurlbeck justified listening to the Blunkett voicemails because Kimberley Fortier/Quinn was publisher of Spectator
Coulson “Given the fact Blunkett was a Labour supporter and the Spectator a Conservative magazine… it gave it some political justifcation”
Coulson says this “political justification” was Thurlbeck’s justification: to Coulson a later meeting between Quinn an Blunkett justified
Edis asks about Coulson’s statement that “I wanted any investigation that was happening to stop”: that’s what I communicated says Coulson
Edis says “you didn’t know what you were stopping?” Coulson: “I knew enough…” Edis” “He has hacking phone” Coulson: “Yes”
Coulson didn’t know phone hacking was illegal. But thought it was a serious breach of privacy “thought a risk… in legal parameters”
“The primary concern in my mind was a breach of privacy… I didn’t talk to [NI lawyer] on the 21st” says Coulson.
“I accept as of the 21st it clearly didn’t matter enough for me to do something about it…. But I believe… I stopped it” says Coulson
Coulson denies he knew of Mulcaire’s hacking since 2001 – “I did not know until after Clive Goodman‘s arrest”
Coulson accepts he knew Greg Miskiw as head of investigations had “contacts”: “Rebekah Brooks and I inherited Mulcaire”
“I don’t know if I ever gave thought to Greg Miskiw’s contacts” says Coulson. “Did you know Greg had a man employed by NOTW?” asks Edis.
“I assumed” says Coulson “Greg Miskiw… would have contacts in the area of investigations”
Edis accuses Coulson of being “vague”. Coulson: “I don’t mean to be obstructive… but I can’t place the time I knew Miskiw had a man”
21/07/04 was the date Coulson heard from Thurlbeck about Blunkett voicemails. 07/08/04 he had another meeting with Thurlbeck.
Thurlbeck “repitched” the Blunkett story, says Coulson with a “new public interest justification”: “Blunkett distracted in his job”
“He was sharing information… of a sensitive nature… terrorism” says Coulson having heard the Blunkett voicemail and a “terrorist arrest”
Coulson says Blunkett’s ‘distraction’ and ‘terrorist arrest’ never made it into the NOTW.
Coulson also says the fact Blunkett was considering going public was important. “Where’s the public interest?” asks Justice Saunders
Coulson says “formed part of his judgement” that Blunkett was going to give up his privacy. Edis “Nothing at all to do with public interest”
“If you decide to publish a story in the public interest, and leave all the public interest out, what did you achieve?” asks Edis.
“It’s full square in the public interest because of what it revealed” says Coulson. “And I suspect Mr Blunkett did too” he adds
“It was indicative of information that shouldn’t be shared by a Home Secretary” says Coulson of Blunkett voicemails.
“If it’s something the public ought to know why didn’t you tell them… This public interest stuff is just an invention” says Edis.
“You’ve been through these voicemails looking for justification… long after the event” Edis. “No” says Coulson: “I went a different route”
“I chose not to do that” says Coulson of avoiding calling for Blunkett’s resignation – and not following that path was a “mistake”
“The Home Secretary’s whereabouts were often a matter of public record” says Edis. He confirms the GCHQ mention didn’t get in NOTW
Coulson says he can’t remember how long the Thurlbeck conversation was: but he didn’t ask what he had been doing. Coulson: “Clear to me”
“I don’t think we discussed the… methodology” says Coulson: “My view was ‘What do we do about this?”
“I’m sure I was surprised and shocked” says Coulson about phone hacking by Thurlbec. He doesn’t remember any articles about phone hacking
“I was interested in it” says Coulson about other articles on phone hacking around 2004: “May have turned page quickly not interesting to me
Coulson says he disapproved of phone hacking at this time “sounded pretty lazy”:
Edis “Actually, what you thought Mr Coulson… this would make a cracking front page” Coulson: “I certainly thought it was a story”
Coulson said he thought about Blunkett over weekend and waited to see if Blunkett would meet Kimberley Quinn: watched the address.
“I didn’t action it” says Coulson of watching Blunkett: “I wanted to know what happened at the meeting” (with Kimberely Quinn)
“It showed the information was correct” says Coulson of surveillance of Blunkett and Quinn.
“It was on half of one part of the story” says Coulson of meeting Blunkett.
“Standing up is standard newspaper language” says Coulson. Edis asks what confirming a voicemail would be: Coulson “We need another source”
Coulson says he still had “doubt” after listening voicemails: he spoke to Blunkett. “It was the conversation with Huw Evans” stood it up
“He neither confirmed nor denied” says Edis.
“I have to say I have some knowledge of this from the other sides” says Coulson: “If it’s a story you don’t engage with you put phone down”
Coulson maintains of the Blunkett affair: “Mr Evans stood the story up… he’s effectively quoted in the story”
Edis turns to a legal note from NI and the “exclusive by Neville Thurlbeck Chief reporter” copy from NOTW files.
Coulson says he’s “not clear from this distance” how the final version of Thurlbeck story got into to paper – and the timing of this version
Edis turns to two other versions of Blunkett’s “passionate affair… with owner of right wing magazine”
“This is not the story that appeared in the paper” says Coulson. Edis agrees: “passionate affair” became “secret affair” no naming of Quinn
“I can’t tell you the chain of events in terms of the precise copy” says Coulson of Blunkett NOTW story.
Edis adduces a two page summary of the Blunkett story and ten pages of voicemail transcripts prepared by Thurlbeck.
“I don’t remember seeing them” says Coulson of Thurlbeck voicemail transcripts.
Coulson says that meeting with Blunkett “to go to Sheffield of all places… took me away from paper that day”
Edis says that voicemail transcripts would “prove exactly the story was true” Coulson says “just one side of the story”
“I never took possession of any tapes. They were found in the lawyer’s safe… all sorts of things go to lawyer’s safe without my knowledge”
Edis says of Thurlbeck transcripts “He wrote them for you”. “For the laywer perhaps” suggests Coulson who cannot remember seeing them
Coulson says he first discovered tapes were kept by NI lawyer as a result of this trial
“I would have seen some copy on the Saturday… I don’t recognise these versions” says Coulson.
“Did he never say to you ‘Hang on we’ve got these tapes in the safe'” asks Edis. “No,” but he might have discussed other versions
Coulson says discussions with NI lawyer focused on possible injunctions by Quinn; lawyer less concerned with Blunkett’s privacy
Edis summarises: “Blunkett is unlikely to sue us because he’s a politician” Coulson says “that’s too blunt…. more nuance to it”
Coulson cannot remember precise timing of conversation with NI lawyers, but it was before meeting Blunkett and publication.
Coulson asked if he lied to Blunkett
NI lawyers record of 13/08/04 includes ‘Neville’ while Coulson is talking to Blunkett: Coulson doesn’t remember any mention of ‘tapes’
“Had there been any meaningful conversation.. you’d need to know what was on the tapes” says Edis. Coulson denies this.
“It’s very likely I spoke to both of them on Friday” says Coulson of NI lawyer and Thurlbeck.
“Were you lying?” asks Edis about Coulson telling Blunkett story was “absolutely true”. Coulson says he was just trying to stand story up
“I know this is true” says Coulson on tape to Blunkett. Edis: “Were you lying?” “I was being disingenuous”
BREAKING; Saunders asks Coulson whether he lied to Blunkett about knowledge of his affsair: “Were you lying, yes or no?” Coulson: “Yes”
Edis asks why Coulson did not tell Blunkett why he knew the truth from the voicemails: “I chose not to… it would lead to negative story”
“The lawyer said there was a risk in regard to Kimberley Fortier’s privacy” says Coulson. But didn’t “specifically” say hid voicemails
“Who decided to hide the origin of the story” asks Edis. “I did” says Coulson “in part because of legal advice”.
“[NI Laywer] didn’t want anyone to know that NOTW had been hacking” asks Edis. “He was concerned about injunctions”
Langdale intervenes over Edis’ assertion that injunctions imply illegality. Saunders explains the basis of the law to the jury.
“It was decided to hide what had been done to avoid legal action” says Edis. “Partly” replies Coulson.
“You’ve been trying to suppress what happened ever since” says Edis. “No” says Coulson.
Edis reads a supportive leader from NOTW from Coulson saying that affair wasn’t undermining Blunkett’s role.
Edis quotes more of the Blunkett supporting leader. Coulson says you can have a public interest to “cause a debate”
Coulson assumes Weatherup would have know about the tapes along with NI lawyer and Thurlbeck and himself.
“I don’t want to suggest someone knew when they didn’t” says Coulson.
Edis asks about Miskiw, then demoted to Manchester – Mulcaire still got £105k per annum. “I had no involvement in that” says Coulson
“The size of the Manchester operation didn’t justify” the payments to Mulcaire in 2004 agrees Coulson.
Edis shows jury phone call schedule which shows mobile to mobile contact between Coulson, Brooks in July/August 2004 around Blunkett story
Brooks phone records not available so this is mainly from Coulson’s billing 21/07/04 – call with Brooks. Thurlbeck then calls NOTW exec.
Coulson agrees the NOTW exec knew about Blunkett story.
06/08/04 Billing data: 15.45 Thurlbeck contacts Mulcaire frequently for about 40 min. “Is that because you’ve given Thurlbeck go ahead?”
Coulson denies Thurlbeck Mulcaire contact was because he’d given Thurlbeck “go ahead” for more on Blunkett story.
06/08/04 more contact between Coulson and NI exec. 07/08/04 Miskiw and Thurlbeck in contact with Mulcaire.
Edis: “Did you tell Mr Thurlbeck to carry on hacking? “Carry on Hacking Neville…” Coulson: “Absolutely not”
“So you’re going to exploit it, but not repeat it?” asks Edis of phone hacking Blunkett. Coulson concedes that he in effect did that.
Edis goes through the phone contact for the next week in which Quinn met Blunkett during an afternoon the following week.
“It was pretty obvious through voicemails that they knew each other” says Edis of Quinn/Blunkett lunchtime meeting.
Edis points out that lunchtime meeting 11/08/04 with Blunkett and Quinn was described as a “tryst” in NOTW. He called Blunkett 12/08/04
Edis notes calls between Coulson, Thurlbeck and another NOTW exec on the week before publication of Blunkett story.
Coulson accepts these calls with NOTW exec abroad could well have concerned the Blunkett/Quinn story.
Coulson says this amount of contact with NOTW while on holiday wouldn’t have necessarily been unusual
Coulson’s contact with Brooks at the time of the Blunkett story
Edis cites texts from Coulson to Brooks evening before he goes to Sheffield (no records of her replies): “looks like a text conversation”
There’s a six minute convo with Coulson and NOTW exec. Two texts and a call to Brooks. Another call with NOTW exec before Blunkett meeting
“I wouldn’t tell Rebekah the stories I was working on” says Coulson.
“Are you saying that woman who wrote that letter” says Edis “would ruin your relationship for a story?”
“There was no deal between the papers on this story” says Coulson of the trusting relationship between him and Brooks at the time.
“It would be a hostile act from someone who like somebody as much as she liked you” says Edis of stealing Blunkett story for Sun.
Coulson says Blunkett was a close friend of Brooks, and that’s one of the reasons he didn’t talk to her about it.
“Rival newspaper editors… that’s the state of the professional relationship between us” says Coulson of Brooks. “That’s how it was”
Break for lunch till 2.05 pm
Coulson questioned on who knew about the tapes
Back after lunch at the #hackingtrial with Andrew Edis QC continuing his cross examination of Andy Coulson for the prosecution
Edis is still asking about the David Blunkett affair in the summer of 2004.
Edis is referring to Thurlbeck’s summary of the Blunkett story – no mention of terrorist arrests.
Police transcripts of Blunkett tape include reference to terrorist suspect released – but not on Thurlbeck transcript.
One Thurlbeck transcript dated and time suggests, despite Coulson’s imprecation to stop, the NOTW was still hacking Blunkett’s phone.
Edis says Thurlbeck “wasn’t keeping hacking secret was he?” Coulson says he doesn’t know status of Thurlbeck notes.
Thurlbeck mentions ‘cameo’ document for double checking Blunkett: Thurlbeck addresses a “you”. Coulson doesn’t accept it’s briefing document
Edis: “As at 15th August 2004 [NOTW Exec] [NI lawyer] Thurlbeck, Miskiw all thought phone hacking as all right by you?”
“I don’t think I sent a signal that phone hacking is all right by me” says Coulson.
“I told Neville to stop twice,” says Coulson… “and took it serious… did send a signal. I didn’t take a blase attitude to this”
Edis and Justice Saunders go through what Coulson said when Thurlbeck first told him about Blunkett’s voicemail: “stop what you’re doing”
“I’m not claiming it was verbatim” says Coulson.
Justice Saunders asks about journalists revealing to editors their sources – depends on journalists and their story says Coulson.
“He was admitting something that could have ended in his dismissal” says Saunders of Thurlbeck’s admission to Coulson to hacking Blunkett
Coulson is questioned by Saunders on his previous assertion the “phone hacking was not justified in the public interest”
“I thought there was justification… the product of listening to voicemail messages” says Coulson.
“Bearing in mind Thurlbeck got it wrong” asks Saunders: “we’re you concerned other journalists on the paper might take same wrong view”
“Was there not a risk that other reporters on the news desk were doing the same thing because they also got it wrong?” asks Saunders.
“Why didn’t you do something about it?” asks Saunders. “With benefit of hindsight I wish I did” says Coulson.
Coulson says his “school of excellence” wasn’t about the “opportunities of the dark arts but the dangers of the dark arts”
Coulson Recruitment of Dan Evans
Edis points out the School of Excellence was a month later. A month after that 24/10/04 “you interviewed Dan Evans”.
“There was competition” says Coulson “the tension between News and Features didn’t exist exclusively at NOTW”
Coulson agrees both he and Brooks tried to reduce “doubling up” between News and Features.
“I had no idea at all about what Dan Evans did in the past, or what he would go on to do at NOTW” Coulson on a journo has pleaded guilty to hacking
Coulson says the meeting with Evans wasn’t an ‘interview’. He agrees that he approved Evans’ recruitment.
“I don’t remember having breakfast with him, but I’m sure we had a cup of coffee” says Coulson of Dan Evans.
“I authorised the hiring of Dan Evans” says Coulson. “But you have no idea why” says Edis. “I hired him as a feature writer” says Coulson.
Turning Mobiles
Edis goes back to Dec 2002 and the fireman’s strike: Gilchrist was leader Fire Brigades Union – he was hacked by Mulcaire, tasked by Miskiw
Coulson cannot remember being interested in Gilchrist, and denies he was a political target of NOTW.
Jan 2003 – Coulson replaces Brooks at NOTW: she goes to the Sun as editor.
Edis adduces 15 pages of emails from 2003: a close working relationship with Clive Goodman at this time says Edis.
Coulson says of Goodman at the time, from the 2003 emails about a leak: “I have no reason to mistrust him”
24/01/03 email about Peat and “turning his mobile”: Coulson cannot remember this story: “not that interested… not household name”
Coulson repeats his understanding that ‘turning’ a mobile meant getting an address. “His address is in the green books” says Edis.
Justice Saunders asks about “turning his mobile… was the phrase common in NOTW and the Sun?” Coulson: “Within NOTW”
Coulson says he assumes it meant getting an address from mobile – though he can’t remember the email
Cash Payments to Place Police and the Green Books
Edis inserts a new page in this bundle – though it’s been seen before elsewhere.
It’s a Contributor Payment Form from NOTW from 21/01/03 ‘Anderson’ – £900: ‘Palace Police Scrapbook’
Edis asks about pseudonym: “Is it OK for this to be false” Coulson: “I wouldn’t have a problem if it was a confidential source”
Coulson says he can’t see the reason for a false address on a cash CPR “no point… that was my understanding”
“If a real name and address appeared.. it was checkable” says Coulson: “I didn’t get involved in that”
Edis cites 21/01/03 email from Goodman to Coulson about “green book” and palace policeman “handy in Peat affair… standard price £1k”
Edis points out “if that’s true… the police officer has stolen a green book?” “If you take email at face value” says Coulson
Coulson says he “didn’t pay enough attention to this email…. brought back to me what it was like working with Clive”
“You don’t need to read much” says Edis: “one of our policemen has stolen a green book”
“This another example of Clive’s exaggerated approach” says Coulson: “and I rubber stamped it”
“I still don’t believe he paid a policeman” says Coulson. “Why would he admit to committing a crime when he hadn’t?” asks Edis.
“Because he exaggerated is sources” says Coulson of Goodman email being unbelievable.
“Clive had… has a tendency to create drama where it’s not necessary” says Coulson of Goodman.
“What’s he going to get out of claiming he’s committed a crime” ask Edis.
“Where is the policeman?” asks Coulson. Edis “Because he’s been hidden by the bent system?” Coulson says they’ve failed to find one.
“I never saw these books, never asked for them” says Coulson. He wasn’t interested in “Peat affair”
“I didn’t apply thought specifically to who it was” says Coulson: “This is your first ten days in the job” says Edis.
“What was the purpose of the editor approving… cash payments in these circumstances?” asks Edis.
Coulson says he was asked to approve payments “for a variety of reasons”: payment or buy out he might be interested in.
Coulson says generally “at times… I would have had a concern about the money being spent… that there was value for money”
Coulson says “cash payment is… was a system… founded on trust. And there’s a risk trust can be abused.”
Coulson: “Two and a half years before this Thurlbeck was arrested for paying money to policeman… This is an absolute alarm bell in NOW”
Coulson says there were “thousands of emails… decisions to be made, in not a black and white situation”
Coulson says Edis has seen thousands of emails, but would have seen more had this been indicative.
Coulson’s email reply begins “This is fine” in 2003. “What was fine about it?” asks Edis. Coulson “The amount of money I suppose”
Edis goes back 07/12/02 payment for Royal Research to Farish.
Edis “There had been an earlier occasion in 2002 when you’d done exactly the same thing” Coulson; “But no evidence it was a police officer”
“That’s what you agreed to” says Edis. “I did not believe it was a policeman” says Coulson.
“Whoever had stolen this and was selling this to you for £1000, that was a crime” says Edis. Coulson: “I accept I should have looked harder”
“It’s a source of regret to me” says Coulson about Green Book. “Perhaps you should have called the police” says Edis.
Coulson says had he contacted police then they might have thought he was wasting their time.
“This is fine. You said” points out Edis. “I meant the amount of money… and blockage with managing editor” says Coulson.
Edis points out that Mulcaire was tasked to hack Sir Michael Peat, mentioned in green book email, the next day.
Same day in the evening email from Goodman to Coulson: “Should have Peat’s car reg… Greg’s people turning mobiles”
“It not just a source or a contact, but someone who could turn mobile numbers” says Edis. “Did you know Greg’s had people then?”
Coulson says that back then he would have assumed Greg Miskiw had sources.
Edis asks if “turning mobiles” implies an invasion of privacy. Coulson says he’d never really given it much thought.
An email from Goodman to another NOTW exec “suggests a degree of interest” from senior staff says Edis. Coulson agrees.
Edis says Peat was investigated over a period of 10 days at least 02/04/03 from Goodman to Coulson “might hear later on the mobile”
Coulson says this means “out of office hours”. He assumed it came from Goodman’s source, who he didn’t know.
“The acquisition of a Green Book for £1k.. handy in the Peat tale… being investigated by Greg’s people” says Edis: “you authorised”
Coulson denies this. “That is why you didn’t ask a single question,” says Edis. “I certainly agree I didn’t ask enough… but nothing else”
Edis points out Mulcaire’s money when up to over £2k a week under the first Coulson NOTW budget.
Coulson agrees Mulcaire’s £105k would “I would expected it to appear on a budget somewhere”
“It was certainly a lot of money, but not for NOTW” says Coulson. Edis points out Goodman was paid less than Mulcaire.
Edis moves on to Dec 2003 – when Miskiw goes to Manchester “but payments to Nine Consultancy go on unaffected. Who was using Nine?”
Edis says there would have been another budgeting process in 2004: and a review of commitments to NOTW.
Coulson says 04/05 budget was dominated by creating new pull out for TV listing.
“I was very tied up with magazine process, and less tied up in line by line of NOTW news budget” says Coulson.
13/01/05 “Dan Evans started work” says Edis. “I certainly would have said hi and had a chat with him” says Coulson.
Email from Goodman, Edis says suggests he was phone hacking in early January 2005.
Goodman email to Coulson says “health inf… scanned from Helen Aspery” 21/01/05 hack established.
“I don’t remember it, but I replied to it” says Coulson. He says “scanned” could be some kind of trick but didn’t think was hacking.
“Why all this confusing language” says Coulson of Goodman email: “If I knew Clive Goodman is hacking phones”
“By this time you know all about phone hacking because of Neville Thurlbeck a few months earlier” says Edis.
“I did not think this was an indication Clive Goodman was hacking anyone’s phone” says Coulson.
“With the benefit of hindsight I was careless” says Coulson. “There were loud clanging bells” says Edis.
“One explanation was you couldn’t care less” says Edis. “One explanation is that I was careless” says Coulson. “I didn’t do enough”
Edis goes through Harry’s health problems. Saunders asks about “getting confidential medical information to put in a paper?”
Coulson says “from this distance” he agrees the story was dubious. “The story would have been legalled” he adds.
Coulson reads through the NOTW story about Prince Harry‘s injuries to see if there’s a public interest angle on it
“It is health information, but not of the most serious nature” says Coulson. “It seems Prince Harry has been telling people about it”
10 minutes break
Edis returns to his cross exam: “still in early part of 2005” 19/02/05 NOTW editor writes to Kuttner cc’ed to Coulson “cost cutting ideas”
The NOTW journo suggests cost cutting for 2005/06 “payment to Greg’s investigations man has to stop… said a million times”
“This is telling you Greg has an investigation man costing £100k a year” says Edis. Coulson says he paid less attention because only cc’ed.
NOTW journo not “keeping it a secret” says Edis. Coulson agrees. Edis talks about the “million times”: Coulson doesn’t remember row.
“It would be unusual for Greg to have a… £100k contractor” says Coulson.
Edis says “what possible justification” for Miskiw in Manchester to have “an investigator earning more than he was?”
“It’s fairly obvious you were aware of it before that Greg has an investigations man” says Edis. “Quite possible” says Coulson.
Coulson says it suggest this “man had some history with Greg…. but not that it’s just for Manchester”
“An educated guess” says Coulson: “Stuart has sent an email out… asking for idea how to recast their budget”
“Greg’s man… for £100k a year… in Manchester” reiterates Edis. “Four days later…. about a leak… Someone hacking Paddy’s voicemail”
“This is the chap… who spoke about ‘inf scanned’… now he’s talking hacking Paddy’s voicemail” says Edis of Goodman.
“There’s been scanning… ending up in NOTW… a month before this email” says Edis: 23/02/05 Goodman floats idea of “phone hacking”
“The word hacking I don’t think was in my mind till much later” says Coulson.
“Some hacking Paddy’s voicemail” writes Goodman. Coulson says you could read it as Goodman going to ring Harverson to find out.
“It appears to me I’m only interested in the leak aspect” says Coulson. It’s possible he didn’t read the whole email.
25/02/05 Nine Consultancy payments stopped. Coulson says this never came to his attention. “A bit of a row going on in the office” says Edis
“You can’t remember any of this” says Edis. Coulson says he can’t recall any conversations about cutting Mulcaire payments.
Edis adduces some Kuttner documents – generated by managing director – about the budget process. Coulson has vague memory of these.
Coulson agrees they shouldn’t have been regarded as an agenda for a meeting: Edis “No they’re notes of a meeting that have already happened”
Edis says there was a meeting on 24/02/05 where subjects such a cutting Nine Consultancy were discussed.
Coulson says these budget meetings would have been “quite generic”
Coulson does not accept he would discuss things like reducing news desk vacancies.
“The meetings would go on forever” says Coulson of 23 budget items.
Edis talks about cutting the column of a footballer “for a considerable sum of money I won’t reveal… these were editorial decisions”
Coulson says cuts would come from Sports and Magazine. Edis asks about 50 percent cut to Nine Consultancy on Budget document.
Budget talks about Nine Consultancy being from “Greg”: Coulson admits that “if I was the least bit interested” he might have connected
“Why wouldn’t you engage with a thing like that” says Edis of Mulcaire costs “when you were getting rid of famous left backs”
Coulson reiterates he wasn’t interested in NOTW astrologer who was being paid more than Mulcaire.
On 50% cut Coulson concedes “there might have been some discussion of that”. “In order to decide” says Edis “you’ve got be able to value it”
“You’ve got to know what is it, and what has it got for us?” asks Edis. “If you’d made any enquiries…. he’s the one who got us Blunkett”
“He carried on getting his money” says Edis. “It was you”. “Ultimately I was the editor” says Coulson. But he allowed depts to run budgets.
“My primary concern would be the bigger picture” says Coulson: head count, marketing “a massive impact on my day to day at NOTW”
“These were items… you did have discussions about” says Edis. “There was no dept head who wanted Nine Consultancy”
“As far as I was thinking of Greg Miskiw… I was thinking of making him redundant” says Coulson. Edis: “Even less reason to keep his man”
08/03/05 notes from another budget meeting from the day before with Kuttner evaluating the savings.
“I can’t differentiate between the two meetings” says Coulson. “I’m not sure the big issue 05/06…. but pretty sure it was DVDs”
2005 Goodman emails to Coulson about Prince Charles wedding “my man in charge of invite vetting”
Coulson points out this email is sent from Goodman to Goodman: “it’s quite important if it didn’t come to me”
Coulson and Edis laugh about the ‘Palace Nuts’ story in the Goodman email – “I may well have lost my touch” says Coulson about interest.
‘Did you take a decision about the Palace Nuts?” asks Edis of the story as it appeared low down in NOTW. “I could have done” says Coulson.
Another email of 08/03/05 Goodman mentions more palace directories available “usually pay a 1000 pounds each for them”
Coulson cannot remember this advance warning of another Goodman purchase of Green Books
June 2005 Goodman email “One of our palace cops…. very risky thing to nick” Goodman chases Coulson who says “Fine”
“I didn’t believe he was paying a policeman… and I still don’t believe he’s playing a police… I’m displaying less interest” says Coulson
“I should have interrogated it more” says Coulson. “It’s a risky document for him to nick” reads Edis: “Pretty plain language”
“I may not have read the email” says Coulson. “We’re talking about five lines of terse prose” says Edis. Coulson “I rubberstamped it”
Edis points out that at this point there’s a “climate” around Goodman at this point: “by this time you’d be wanting to scrutinise carefully”
“I should have done” says Coulson. “Why not?” asks Edis. “I’m telling the truth… I should have given it more thought”
“It’s absolutely as plain as a pike staff” says Edis of Goodman email: “Not if you’re frustrated with someone” says Coulson.
Edis talks of “other events” happening this Spring of 2005
Edis has gone back to NOTW budget revisions in 2005 “someone has taken a decision 9 Consultancy will continue to get £105k around May”
The Gordon Taylor Story
“One thing that happened that Spring is that Miskiw, Mulcaire and Thurlbeck carried out an investigation into Gordon Taylor‘ says Coulson.
Coulson: “I’d put Gordon Taylor below Sir Michael Peat in terms of interest to NOTW”
Edis says the news editors “put a lot of resources” into Taylor story “largely based on voicemails… and not printed”
Coulson says of Gordon Taylor its “quite unusual for a paper to commit not to run a story… I was not interested in it”
Edis points out transcripts of Gordon Taylor‘s voicemails sent to desk editors “yards from your office… did you know about that?” “No”
Coulson cites another editor saying Gordon Taylor was a “splash”: “it’s not a story I was interested in… but every chance they presented”
The Charles Clarke Story
Edis says at the same time the Charles Clarke Hannah Pawlby story was live: his phone being hacked, Thurlbeck surveillng, Coulson calling
Edis maintains it’s unlikely Coulson was calling Charles Clarke to make critical comments about his successor at Education Dept.
Coulson denies he called Pawlby over the affair: he could have been calling on Biggs or bullying or ID cards
“3 ways of investigating the same person…all connected to each other” says Edis “the NOTW was hoping to do the next Home Secretary”
“You know the phone hacking was going on the same time because one of them was your voicemail” says Edis of Hannah Pawlby surveillance
Edis says the Biggs story was over because the Home Office has said there was already an application: Coulson was establishing if approved
Edis: “You made a telephone call to contact a Home Sec…. and you can’t remember why you did that?
“All the time the NOTW calls the Home Office?” asks Edis. They agree on that. But the editor doesn’t call the Home Secretary all the time.
Coulson says he called Ministers all the time.
Justice Saunders was about to adjourn. But a juror reminds him today we’re sitting till 5pm
Edis maintains that while Mulcaire was hacking Pawlby Clarke, Coulson was actively considering retaining him. Coulson denies this.
Budgets and Big Spends
Edis turns to “what is considered a lot of money for NOTW”: Kuttner documents on ‘big spends’ £15m on ‘fixed costs’
Edis says its the smaller costs you turn to “make cuts” because you can’t really deal with fixed costs.
“Special Inquiries at £325k comes into that” says Edis of NOTW ‘big spends’. “Mr Mulcaire right there at the top of the retainers” says Edis
BREAKING: on ‘big spends’ at NOTW Mulcaire is in the top 5 earners along with political columnists agrees former editor Andy Coulson.
But Coulson says a famous left back was on a similar sum and he had no input into cutting his column in 2004/5
Next years budget documents at NOTW adduced by Edis 14/12/05 notes special payments for Goodman Royal info – i.e. Mulcaire £24k per annum
Edis points out the £500 pw to Mulcaire was within desk editor’s budgets: “Why was it you who authorised it?” Coulson: “Natural follow on”
Coulson says the news editor was not deliberately “left out of the loop” on Alexander payments.
“I don’t know” says Coulson of authorisation bypassing the news desk. “It did have the effect of concealing from News Desk” says Edis
On this same list as Alexander payments is “Nine Consultancy” – the company is the second item in 2006/07 budget discussions at NOTW
Coulson had previously said that Nine came up at one budget discussion in terms of saving money: he thinks it was Stuart Kuttner
“That’s not to say it wasn’t mentioned more than once” says Coulson of Nine: “But I’ve given you my memory”
Edis says that this 75% reduction for Nine Consultancy was followed by the splitting of payments “in the books” but Mulcaire got same money
“This is a 4 page document prepared specially to it is easy to absorb” says Edis: “trying to find a saving of £660k”
Coulson says he would have engaged with the £660k but “not the detail”. Edis “but that saving is made of many small savings”
“Two years running cuts were suggested to Nine Consultancy” says Edis: “But do you know how that was assessed?” asks Edis.
“These discussions cannot take place unless people know what they’re talking about” says Edis. Coulson remembers “Mr Winner”
“That would have been a very difficult twenty minute conversation with Mr Winner” says Coulson of cutting his column.
Edis points out there were only three cuts to News discussed that year – one of them Mulcaire.
Edis points out that a news editor had changed his attitude to Mulcaire and Nine over 2005-06. Coulson never asked why he changed his tune.
04/03/06 News Editor writes to Mulcaire extending his contract to 2007 “Happy now grumpy?”
“You and Mr Kuttner were taking decisions about retainers… and special inquiries” says Edis. Coulson denies this: “I wasn’t interested”
“My concern… was how to compete with Mail on Sunday” says Coulson. “By having good stories” says Edis. “CDs were the main sales driver”
“Some stories did add sale, but not very many. I don’t think Blunkett was a very big sales driver” says Coulson.
10 am tomorrow. Justice Saunders wishes the jurors best of luck with the Tube.

Note: All the defendants deny all the charges. The trial continues.

Related Articles
Those Rogue Reporter Emails
Stuart Kuttner Emails to Surrey Police over Milly Dowler
Kuttner Notes of Conversation with Goodman Just After his Arrest
Some of the Mysteries of Phone Hacking – Unlocked
Mulcaire Sanctioned by Spooks – Malign Influence of NI Lawyer on Goodmans Legal Team

Previous Posts
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Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 24 Apr
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