As the criticism over his testimony has mounted in recent weeks, so has speculation that James Murdoch would be recalled by the U.K. commission investigating the hacking scandal to clarify the record. As so the announcement Tuesday that Murdoch would indeed be returning to the stand came as no real surprise to anyone.
Committee officials said that they expected to be able to schedule the hearing for November, and a spokeswoman for Murdoch said that he would be there. “James Murdoch is happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have,” she said.
Last week, two former employees of New of the World countermanded Murdoch’s testimony that he had never been informed that the practice was more widespread than just a single employee. Former News legal manager Tom Crone and former editor Colin Myler both said they recall informing Murdoch in a conversation about a second case that the paper eventually settled.
And a few weeks earlier, a 2007 letter from Clive Goodman, a former employee fired for hacking, emerged with accusations that practice was widespread. At the same time, a prominent London media law firm, Harbottle & Lewis, hired to handle Goodman’s firing dismissed Murdoch’s assertions that they’d certified to him the practice had been limited to just Goodman.
The commission has increasingly focused on Murdoch’s role then and the scrutiny threatens to imperil his standing as chairman of BSkyB and his broader role in his father’s News Corp. empire.