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Tuesday 20 December 2011

Leveson Is Served (8)

[Updates, two so far, at end of post]

So the day arrived that the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron was to give evidence, live via video link from the USA. An awful lot of folks have built up to this event as if it were something seismic, game changing, and inevitably incriminating for the former editor of the Daily Mirror, and of course the Screws. As with so much regarding Moron’s link to Phonehackgate, there is more in the retelling than in fact.

Moron was taken through the Viglen share dealing saga – which really did smell distinctly rank – and otherwise the examination went over all the allusions to phone hacking and tapping. And, although Moron was at times less than convincing, no new light was shed on the events, with the one exception being the Heather Mills and Paul McCartney voicemail.

He declined to go into any detail as to who had played him the message, although we know who it was: step forward Neil “Wolfman” Wallis. The impression was given by Moron that he may have been played the message by Heather Mills herself, even after Leveson suggested he may call her to appear before the Inquiry. Maybe he has good reason not to mention Wallis. The Wolfman must know an awful lot.

Much time was wasted over the Sven’n’Ulrika story, where Zelo Street readers will know that the Mirror did not on this occasion get involved with hacking (see HERE and HERE). It’s unfortunate that Leveson got sidetracked here, given that there are four different sources out there that show that it was the Screws that had done the hacking, and the Mirror got wind of the story from Screws hacks.

But let’s cut to the chase here: after Moron was quizzed and he did the expected amount of bodyswerving, just how much further on is the campaign to try and get some of the mud of Phonehackgate to stick to him? Unlike the Screws, no single case of phone hacking and tapping has been brought against the Mirror, despite all the recent suggestions that action was imminent.

Will the law be going after Moron to name his source in the Mills/McCartney voice message case? Very, very doubtful. And that’s as near as Moron gets to hacking. There are all sorts of possibilities as to what Mirror hacks may or may not have been up to, but there has to be evidence before any case can be brought. And so far there isn’t any evidence.

Moron was on occasion evasive. On occasion he was less than fully co-operative with the line of questioning. But on the basis of this afternoon’s session before Leveson, nothing has been proved and all the bluster in the world will not cause anything to be proved. What is needed for anyone wanting to move against Moron is some competent investigative journalism and some actual facts.

Anything less, and he walks away to continue his life. End of story.

[UPDATE 1845 hours: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, has produced a characteristically hopeful account of Moron's testimony, telling that in a poll on his blog, 96% of respondents (his own regulars) said Moron was not being honest.

Sadly for Staines and his fan club, the law in England and Wales is not driven by polls conducted by his, or any other, blog. He also asserts that Moron told Leveson that phone hacking was "not unethical". He didn't. Another fine mess]

[UPDATE2 December 23 1700 hours: as the Huffington Post has noted, there has been little coverage of Moron's testimony in the country where he now makes most of his living. Even CNN's cable news rivals gave the event no more than cursory coverage. The HuffPo conceded that "his appearance made little splash" and "Experts suggested ... that this week's testimony won't have much effect on his standing in the United States", and that it would need further evidence to emerge to harm him.

This contrasts with Staines' assertion from just over a week ago that "Will def get traction in US ... will call Breitbart". Seemingly not even The Great Guido and batshit Breitbart could get Moron very far up the news agenda. Another fine mess, once again]

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