How the Murdochs prepared for Leveson – Yahoo! News
Gerson Zweifach, News Corp’s chief legal counsel, and Joel Klein, an ex-White House lawyer and company board member who is helping lead a corporate clean-up in response to the phone-hacking scandal, held practice sessions with Murdoch.
One of those familiar with the coaching said Murdoch’s preparation took “days”. Another said some rehearsals took place in London before his appearance at the inquiry, where he answered questions on phone-hacking and political influence.
By contrast, his son James, appearing the day before Rupert, gave a more polished but sometimes mechanical performance, reflecting days of intensive coaching by a team including public-relations specialists.
One of his advisers, who was not involved in briefing him for the inquiry, said: “I thought he sounded overly lawyered and too convoluted. He also seems incapable of straight answers. I thought his father did better.”
News Corp declined to comment for this article.
In court, Rupert Murdoch gave the impression of having paid little attention to his coaching, even boasting he was ignoring it as he launched an attack on Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, a rival to Murdoch’s daily tabloid The Sun.
“I’m under strict instructions by my lawyers not to say this,” he began, prompting Judge Brian Leveson to respond: “I think you’ve just caused three coronaries,” referring to Murdoch’s contingent of lawyers in the court.
Murdoch continued: “But I was really shocked by the statement of Mr Dacre the other day, that his editorial policy is driven by commercial interests. I think that is about the most unethical thing I’ve read for a long time.”