News Corp. Obstruction Evidence Mounts Amid James Murdoch Resignation
On April 14, the police arrested James Weatherup, an editor from News of the World. Burton Copeland removed some of Weatherup’s work-related possessions from News International before the police arrived, transferring them to its own offices.
Akers threatened to arrest Ian Burton, a principal at the law firm, and bring obstruction of justice charges, according to two people briefed on the matter, unless News International began to cooperate.
Brooks dispatched her two deputies, Lewis and Greenberg, to meet face-to-face with Akers and bear the brunt of her anger, said three people with knowledge of the matter.
Akers lectured the men about the importance of dealing directly with News International executives instead of a law firm. Lewis and Greenberg assured her that going forward, the company would cooperate completely.
A few days later, Brooks hosted a videoconference to update two colleagues at News Corp. headquarters in New York: Lon Jacobs, then the general counsel, and Joel Klein, chief executive of News Corp.’s education division, who was advising News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch on the matter.
James Murdoch attended in London, along with Burton, Dan Tench, a lawyer from the firm Olswang, Lewis and Greenberg.
Klein and Jacobs had already heard about Akers’s anger over the removal of Weatherup’s possessions, according to two attendees who asked not to be identified. Brooks assured the men that Lewis and Greenberg had put things right with Scotland Yard and that Akers was no longer “mad” at News International.
After learning about the Harbottle file and the e-mail involving Coulson and payments to police officers, Jacobs asked whether Coulson would be arrested, according to two attendees. Brooks said that was likely.
Wouldn’t Coulson’s arrest be a problem for the company? Jacobs asked. Brooks dismissed his concern, saying Coulson’s arrest was much more likely to be a problem for David Cameron.
Coulson was arrested three months later.