Andy Coulson’s lawyer attacked the credibility of prosecution witnesses at the U.K. phone-hacking trial, saying one former reporter at News Corp. (NWSA:US)’s News of the World listened to Kate Middleton’s voice-mail messages on Valentine’s Day in 2006.
Timothy Langdale, Coulson’s lawyer, said that the reporter, Clive Goodman, had told “a whopper” when testifying about the extent of his involvement in phone-hacking at the now defunct tabloid.
Coulson, the 46-year-old former editor of the News of the World, and Goodman are among seven people on trial for a variety of wrongdoing at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers, including voice-mail interception and bribing public officials. Goodman testified during the trial that he had hacked the phones of Princes William and Harry and Middleton close to 200 times.
Goodman’s lawyer had sought to downplay his client’s delay in discussing the full extent of his hacking, Langdale said during his closing arguments in London today. “Counsel described it as a ’white lie,’” Langdale said. “I’m going to describe it as a whopper.”
Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge, married Prince William in 2011.
Langdale also criticized other aspects of the prosecution case, saying the trial wasn’t “rigorous, open-minded or fair.”
Coulson resigned his post at the News of the World in 2007, on the day Goodman and a private detective at the tabloid were sentenced to prison for phone hacking. Coulson later became a media adviser to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.
After Goodman’s incarceration, the scandal was reignited in 2011 amid the discovery that journalists at the newspaper accessed messages on the phone of Milly Dowler, a teenager who was found murdered in 2002.
Langdale said there was no physical evidence against his client at the seven-month trial.
“Why are there no e-mails questioning hacking or sanctioning hacking?” Langdale asked.
In addition to Goodman, Langdale questioned the reliability of another former reporter who testified at the trial, Dan Evans. Langdale called Goodman and Evans, who have both pleaded guilty to phone hacking, “terribly unreliable.”
Goodman and Evans both testified that Coulson was aware of phone hacking during his tenure at the weekly tabloid newspaper.
“The prosecution have failed to call before you a single witness to testify that Andy Coulson was involved in phone hacking who does not have an agenda of their own,” Langdale said.
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