Private detective Glenn Mulcaire said today (Tuesday) through his attorneys that he did not act "unilaterally" when he intercepted phone calls while "effectively employed" by Britain's now-shuttered News of the World tabloid. "As an employee he acted on the instructions of others," the attorneys' statement said. It added, "In the light of the ongoing police investigation, he cannot say any more." It remains unclear who is paying the attorneys' fees. Last week, News International, the umbrella group for News Corp's newspapers in the U.K., announced that it would no longer cover them. His attorneys responded that Mulcaire has an indemnification agreement from NI requiring the company to cover his legal costs while he fights a court order to provide more information about his involvement in the scandal. Mulcaire has claimed the British equivalent of the Fifth Amendment privilege in refusing to testify. Should he lose that battle or be forced to abandon it because of the high legal costs, Mulcaire could become the first person known to be directly involved in the illegal voicemail hacking to name the higher-ups who hatched it and authorized him to implement it. In that sense he could play the "star witness" role of White House attorney John Dean in the Watergate scandal -- testifying about the illicit activity and the cover-up in exchange for immunity.

02/08/2011