UK police arrest man in phone hacking probe

December 7, 2011 - 10:20 AM

LONDON (AP) — British police said Wednesday they have arrested another suspect in their investigation of phone hacking by the News of the World tabloid.

London's Metropolitan police said they arrested a 41-year-old man on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voice mail messages and pervert the course of justice. The man's name was not released.

Police said he was being held at a police station in south London.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch shut down the tabloid in July after evidence emerged it had accessed the mobile phone voice mails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims in its search for exclusives.

More than a dozen News of the World journalists, including former editor Andy Coulson, have been arrested as the scandal escalated.

Coulson, who resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron's media adviser when he became embroiled in the investigation, is suing News of the World's publisher for terminating the payment of his legal fees relating to the phone-hacking scandal.

He was not in court Wednesday as his case against News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers got underway at London's High Court. The case is expected to last about a day.

Coulson's lawyer James Laddie asked Justice Michael Alan Supperstone to declare that News Group Newspapers must pay Coulson's costs in defending himself from allegations of criminality during his tenure as editor.

News Group Newspapers is arguing that a clause in Coulson's severance agreement stating it must pay any reasonable legal costs for defending or appearing in judicial proceedings relating to his editorship does not extend to criminal allegations, Laddie said.

Coulson, who left the newspaper in 2007, quit as Cameron's media adviser in January, saying that coverage of the phone-hacking scandal was making it too difficult for him to do his job.

Two top London police officers and several senior Murdoch executives also have resigned over the hacking scandal, which has led to multiple investigations and damaged Murdoch's empire.

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Cassandra Vinograd can be reached at http://twitter.com/CassVinograd