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Ex-tabloid editor quizzed in phone hacking probe

Saturday - 3/16/2013, 12:30am  ET

JILL LAWLESS
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- The former editor of Britain's Daily Mirror tabloid was questioned on Friday by police investigating phone hacking, British media reported.

The Press Association, Sky News and others said Richard Wallace, 51, was interviewed under caution. That means he was not arrested but the interview was recorded and could be used in future prosecutions.

London's Metropolitan Police said a 51-year-old man was interviewed at a police station "in connection with the suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails at Mirror Group Newspapers."

Britain's scandal over illegal eavesdropping by journalists began at Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World but has spread to other titles.

Murdoch's News Corp. has already paid millions to settle scores of lawsuits from celebrities, politicians and others who say they were victims of illegal intrusion.

The Guardian newspaper reported Friday that detectives were investigating hundreds more potential hacking incidents after obtaining records from a News Corp. insider turned witness. The newspaper did not name the individual.

On Thursday four current and former senior Mirror Group journalists were arrested, including the editor of the Sunday People tabloid and his deputy -- the first time the criminal investigation has spread to Murdoch's rival. All four have been granted bail pending further inquiries.

Police say their investigation centers on allegations of hacking at the Sunday Mirror.

Wallace was deputy editor of that newspaper from 2003 to 2004, and editor of the Daily Mirror between 2004 and 2012.

He replaced Piers Morgan -- now a high-profile CNN interviewer -- who was fired from the Daily Mirror after the newspaper ran pictures of British soldiers abusing Iraqis that were exposed as fakes.

Wallace told Britain's media ethics inquiry last year that hacking "might well" have occurred at the Daily Mirror in the early 2000s. Morgan edited the newspaper between 1995 and 2004.

Morgan has repeatedly denied ever having hacked a phone or having ordered anyone else to hack a phone. But in a newspaper article in 2006, he boasted of eavesdropping on a phone message that Paul McCartney left on ex-wife Heather Mills' answering machine.


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