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Former Wall Street Journal publisher to give phone hacking testimony

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 4:08 a.m. HST, Oct 11, 2011

LONDON » Rupert Murdoch's former right-hand man will be grilled by British lawmakers on how much he knew about the phone hacking scandal, lawmakers said today.

Parliament's media committee, which is investigating the scandal, said that former Wall Street Journal publisher and top Murdoch aide Les Hinton would testify via video link on Oct. 24.

The announcement was made in a brief scheduling note emailed to journalists and didn't include any details about what the hearing's agenda would be. But Hinton has emerged as a central figure in the scandal, which has damaged Murdoch's international media empire and convulsed the world of British journalism.

Hinton was executive chairman of News International, the U.K. newspaper division of News Corp., while illegal behavior was allegedly rife at the News of the World, the division's flagship Sunday tabloid.

Hinton testified in 2007 and 2009 that he had not seen any evidence that the hacking had spread beyond one reporter, but documentary evidence and testimony from other former executives have since cast doubt on his claims.

Hinton worked with Murdoch for more than half a century before he resigned in the wake of the scandal. His closeness to his former boss -- Murdoch said in July that he would trust Hinton "with my life" -- means that his appearance will receive particularly close scrutiny.

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