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Lawmakers seek to re-question James Murdoch

LONDON -- British lawmakers said Monday they will grill Rupert Murdoch's son James about newspaper phone hacking for a second time next month, as Murdoch's former right-hand man denied that he knew about the scale of the wrongdoing when he paid almost $400,000 to a reporter convicted of illegal eavesdropping.

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee said James Murdoch, his father's heir-apparent, will give evidence on Nov. 10.

Rupert Murdoch shut down the 168-year-old British tabloid News of the World in July after it was accused of illegally hacking into the voice mails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims in search of scoops.

Both Murdochs denied knowing about the scale of the wrongdoing when they appeared before the panel of lawmakers the same month.

Former News Corp. employees have since cast doubt on the Murdochs' testimony. Ex-company lawyer Jonathan Chapman rejected the notion that the two had been kept in the dark by subordinates, saying their statements had contained "serious inaccuracies."

Other senior executives have backed the Murdochs' claim that they did not know News of the World reporters regularly hacked phones and paid police officers for information.

Some News Corp. critics and shareholders have called for James Murdoch to resign from his post as chief executive of his father's international division over the scandal.

Les Hinton, former publisher of the Murdoch's Wall Street Journal and one of Rupert Murdoch's closest allies, said he considered that unlikely.

"I see no reason why James Murdoch should resign," he told lawmakers yesterday.

Hinton worked for Murdoch for 52 years until the scandal, which has convulsed Britain's media landscape. In July, he resigned as publisher of the Journal and chief executive of Dow Jones & Co. -- the most senior Murdoch executive claimed by the furor.

Hinton said he had resigned because "although unaware, I was in charge of this company at the time of the core wrongdoing."

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