News of the World has been accused of bribing a prison guard in 2009. The news of the bribery was found in News Corp.’s legal defense against a former News of the World editor’s lawsuit against the company, Bloomberg explained.
According to Bloomberg’s report on News Corp.’s Dec. 13 court papers:
“Matt Nixson, a features editor for five years at the paper, told a reporter in a March 7, 2009, e-mail to pay 750 pounds ($1,150) to the guard for details about a man who murdered two girls,” Ian Huntley.
Huntley was found guilty of the 2002 murders of “two 10-year-old girls attending the primary school where he worked,” according to Bloomberg. The Atlantic Wire indicated that the bribe report may lead to charges in the U.S. against News Corp. The Atlantic Wire’s Jan. 12 report suggested a possible outcome of the bribe news could be “the Department of Justice slamming News Corp. with racketeering charges” under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Meanwhile, Nixson’s lawyer Alison Downie sent Bloomberg a statement that Nixson “wishes to make it absolutely clear that he neither bribed, nor ever admitted to bribing a prison officer.”
Nixson worked for News of the World from 2005 to 2010 and was later fired from the Sun, the same month News Corp. shut down News of the World amidst phone hacking allegations.
According to the Telegraph:
“A high court claim form says Mr Nixson was not provided with any reason for his dismissal at the meeting but that the decision had been taken by the management and standards committee following the discovery of emails relating to the journalist’s time at the News of the World which were ‘of interest to the police in their investigations’. Mr Nixson was not told what was in the emails.”
According to Bloomberg, News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee ruled that Nixson’s firing was because of his “gross misconduct, or at any rate, conduct justifying dismissal without notice or pay.”
Ad Age noted that News International’s spokesperson “declined to comment on the case.”
Hat Tip: Editor & Publisher