Business, Media, Politics

News Of The World’s former US editor arrested

By Rebecca Davis 19 August 2011

It's been a bad week for the Murdochs and News Corp. James Desborough, News of the World's US editor, has been arrested in London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. By REBECCA DAVIS.

On Tuesday the publication of a letter by NOTW’s former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, left very little doubt that the practice of phone-hacking was known and accepted at the tabloid. Desborough’s arrest follows on this revelation, and is the 13th arrest so far in what the police are calling “Operation Weeting”.

Inevitably, his detention adds fuel to the speculation over whether NOTW was hacking phones on American soil as well as in Britain. In particular, the FBI is investigating whether NOTW hacked the phones of victims of 9/11 or their families.

The police haven’t given any further details as to why Desborough has been taken in, but it seems unlikely he would have been involved in any schemes to do with 9/11, as his beat was predominantly entertainment. In this area he continued NOTW’s run of suspiciously exclusive scoops. For instance, he broke the news that UK TV star Fern Britton’s TV weight-loss was the result of a gastric band operation rather than simply dieting, as she had claimed. As a result of this kind of success, he was awarded the title of Showbiz Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.

All of the previous 12 people arrested in the investigation have been released, but there is little doubt that the net is tightening around the tabloid. There must be a fraught atmosphere in the Murdoch household these days. DM

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Photo: A man reads a copy of the final edition of the News of the World in a newsagent in London, July 10, 2011. REUTERS/Luke Macgregor


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Days of Zondo

Fikile ‘Fearfokkol’ Mbalula tripped up by semantics of his Gupta-fix tale

By Jessica Bezuidenhout

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