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Breaking on CNN:

A former editor of Rupert Murdoch's disgraced News of the World tabloid was detained Wednesday on perjury charges over court testimony about phone hacking.

Andy Coulson, 44, was held in connection with a Scottish police investigation into phone hacking and perjury at the trial of politician Tommy Sheridan.


At the high court in Glasgow, Scotland, in December 2010, Coulson denied on the stand that he had ever met or spoken to a private detective employed by News of the World to hack phones, according to British press reports at the time.

Andy Coulson is the former News of the World editor who later became PM David Cameron's press secretary, but had to resign as a result of the scandal.

I'll update with more as it comes in...

a bit more from The Guardian (h/t greenbird):

It is understood that Coulson was visited unannounced at his home in London at 6.30am by seven police officers, including Met detectives, before being driven to Glasgow under escort. He was being taken to Govan police station, the base for Operation Rubicon, the inquiry set up to investigate alleged perjury at the trial. He will be questioned later on Wednesday.
"It is under section 14 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 on suspicion of committing perjury before the high court in Glasgow."

The book, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF MURDOCH by Peter Jukes, a.k.a. Brit, launched yesterday, which means it is now fully funded. You can follow its roll-out here:


cotterperson has found a great article from Scottish television (?) about this latest development. It quotes the defendant in the case in which Coulson is suspected of perjury, Tommy Sheridan:

"We were led to believe by Mr Coulson and his acolytes at News International during my trial and the initial phone-hacking investigations that the problem was a rogue reporter. It's the equivalent of a bad apple in the barrel.
"Well, I think we all know now that there is no bad apple in the barrel, what there is is a rotten orchard full of bad apples. Fortunately, given the hard work of Operation Rubicon, we now have a start to what will hopefully become criminal charges and hopefully Mr Coulson won't be lonely but he will be joined by colleagues in the future."


Lib Dem FoP has a just put up a great post which describes the details of the Tommy Sheridan trial. Check it out here:

It also contains this juicy tidbit: as we speak, Andy Coulson is being driven 400 miles from London to Glasgow, Scotland for questioning! That's like, a nine hour drive.
Erm - from ceebs in the comments, he arrived in Glasgow at 3:30pm (about an hour and a half ago), but still - it was a nine hour drive! (6:30am - 3:30pm) Hahahahahaa.

Also from ceebs, via The Guardian article linked above:

(Coulson) can be questioned for up to 12 hours from his arrival. The police can then either release him, charge him or ask a senior officer for authority to hold and question him for another 12 hours.
This diarist believes they are trying to get Mr. Coulson to sing.


From Brit (Peter Jukes), in the comments:

A couple of points about Coulson's detention (1+ / 0-)
In Scottish law there is no bailing over, so the net result of today's detention will be a) he will charged or b) he will be released without charge. I bet you can guess where my money lies

Secondly, to prove perjury, the Scottish police must have received plenty of evidence of phone hacking, and Coulson's knowledge of it - in other words they've got a file from Operation Weeting. Coincidentally the Met sent a file yesterday to the Crown Prosecution Service about a completed Weeting Investigation - or maybe it's no coincidence.

Finally, and no less importantly, there's a special gift available to Kossacks. Basically if they sign up to Unbound in the next few days they get a £5 voucher which buys you the Fall of the House Murdoch for free.
It's a promotional thing that doesn't cost me or Eric anything, but can benefit Kossacks.

I'm racing to the conclusion to the book (hence my absence from here and the Daily Beast this week) and it should be out in Mid July, complete with Leveson evidence.



h/t ceebs, we learn today that Sean Connery was hacked 10 times!:

EDINBURGH-BORN screen legend Sir Sean Connery has been told by police they believe he has been a victim of phone hacking.

The former James Bond star, now 81, was told he had been hacked about 10 times, making him one of the highest profile victims so far in the hacking scandal.

It is understood his name appears in the records of Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective who worked for the News of the World.


From Lib Dem FoP in the comments, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, appeared before the Leveson Inquiry today, with some stunning testimony:

"I had heard directly and indirectly from colleagues that there had been veiled threats, that if I made the wrong decision from the point of view of the company, my party would be - I think somebody used the phrase - done over in the News International press," Mr Cable said.
"I took those things seriously. I was very concerned. I had myself tried to deal with the process entirely properly and impartially and I discovered that this was happening in the background.

"I frankly stored up my anger at what was taking place. But, in that very special and tense situation I rather offloaded my feelings."

Mr Cable said he believed the "threats" against his party came from conversations with News Corp lobbyist Frederic Michel but cross examined by Rhodri Davies QC, counsel for the company, refused to identify the person who informed him of the reports.


From the comments, Brit tells us:

When Coulson potentially perjured himself, he was the chief press spokesman for the Government, head of communications at Number 10

More Brit gold in the comments:

Two things we do know:
News Corp would never have set up the high powered internal inquiry, the MSC, without contact from the FBI about possible breaches of the FCPA. The only way to avoid higher fines and possible prison time is to co-operate. The net effect of US law therefore, was to expose the rank corruption of public officials at the Sun, and to open up Data Pool 3, some 300 million NI emails, which have been a key source of evidence for the last six months.

That's one hell of a big result for US law.

Thanks guys.

Meanwhile, Operation Elveden, the Met investigation into corrupt payments to public officials, sent the FBI 30,000 emails last month.

The politics of all this is tricky for the DOJ, with an election looming. But the diligence of continued investigations, with the threat of indictments unspoken but looming, may do wonders for the behaviour of certain cable news networks


Breaking from Brit in the comments:

Coulson has been charged with perjury, and his case now referred to procurator fiscal.
ceebs has found The Guardian article about the charges:
After the longest perjury trial in Scottish criminal history, Sheridan was jailed for three years and sent first to Barlinnie prison. After serving 12 months in Castle Huntly open prison near Dundee, Sheridan is now living at home under a strict curfew with a satellite tag on his ankle.

During the trial, Sheridan produced documentary evidence that he had been twice targeted by Mulcaire in 2004, and accused Coulson of running a newspaper where hacking and the "dark arts" were commonplace.

Coulson repeatedly denied Sheridan's allegations, and told the court he had never met or heard of Mulcaire before Goodman's trial, and had had no knowledge whatsoever that hacking had been used by the paper's staff.


From ceebs in the comments, a new Guardian article up:

Someone convicted of lying on oath in a high court perjury case would face at least five years in jail. Even while facing other potential charges in another jurisdiction, Scottish prosecutors would insist on a speedy trial in Scotland.

"If someone perjured themselves in a Scottish court, that makes it a wholly Scottish matter and it will be dealt with wholly by the Scottish authorities and the Scottish courts," he said.
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