Former British PM’s Communications Director Charged With Perjury

Posted May 30th, 2012 at 6:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Andy Coulson, British Prime Minister David Cameron's former media chief and a former editor of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, has been arrested and charged with perjury by Scottish police.

Coulson was picked up Wednesday morning at his home in London and taken to the Scottish city of Glasgow for questioning related to a testimony he had given at the Glassgow High Court in 2010. After the questioning, he was charged with lying in court during that testimony.

Coulson testified in the case of former Scottish lawmaker Tommy Sheridan who was later convicted of perjury. Sheridan won a 2006 defamation suit against the News of the World, which claimed that the lawmaker visited disreputable night clubs, participated in orgies and used drugs, but a year later police arrested and charged him with perjury in connection with the hearing.

Coulson was called to give evidence at Sheridan's trial as he was editor of the News of the World between 2003 and 2007. He asserted that the tabloid did not engage in illegal telephone hacking.

After the tabloid's closure, Prime Minister David Cameron made Coulson his media chief. Coulson left the position last year amid continued coverage of the telephone hacking scandal. In July of 2011 he was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking.

Murdoch shut down the News of the World last July after the scandal erupted, and his media empire has agreed to large payouts to 37 phone-hacking victims, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

The 81-year-old mogul also owns British newspapers The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun. Senior employees at The Sun have been arrested as part of an inquiry into allegations the newspaper obtained information by bribing police and other officials.

About 40 people have been arrested due to probes into the illegal news gathering and bribery scandals.