It’s worth emphasizing that all of these funds were paid to Goodman between April 2007 and December 2007. Goodman’s damning letter to Les Hinton et al was sent on March 2, 2007—one month before the payments began. Here’s a quote from that letter: “Tom Crone and the Editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea.”
Hinton testified to Parliament on March 6, 2007, just four days after receiving the letter from Goodman, which presumably would make it difficult to use the “I don’t recall” defense. The Guardian:
Four days after Goodman sent his letter, Hinton gave evidence to the select committee in which he made no reference to any of the allegations contained in the letter, but told MPs: “I believe absolutely that Andy [Coulson] did not have knowledge of what was going on”. He added that he had carried out a full, rigorous internal inquiry and that he believed Goodman was the only person involved.
Hinton is now likely to have be called before Parliament again, as is James Murdoch.
I’ll leave the kicker to Brian Cathcart in The Guardian:
Tom Watson MP said the new material was devastating and he was not exaggerating. Difficult though it may be to believe, documents released by the Commons culture, media and sport select committee are at least as damaging to News International management as the revelation last month that Milly Dowler’s voicemail had been hacked. That news prompted disgrace and resignations: now we are looking at possible criminal charges at senior levels.
Assuming that these documents hold up to scrutiny, a whole raft of executives - not journalists or editors, but well above that level - are surely likely to be questioned by police investigating the possibility of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Arrests in some cases must be likely…
James has been asked back to the media committee to clarify his evidence. That will be a humiliation so dreadful that he will be looking for any way he can to avoid it. Meanwhile a number of people accustomed to executive limos and seven-figure salaries are beginning to wonder what it might be like in jail.