Former aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron arrested

Andy Coulson
LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron's former press aide was arrested and charged Wednesday with committing perjury during a 2010 trial related to Britain's phone hacking scandal.

Scottish police said Andy Coulson had been arrested and charged, but gave no additional information. Earlier, police said officers had “detained a 44-year-old male in London this morning … on suspicion of committing perjury before the High Court in Glasgow.” The suspect was widely identified by British news reports as Coulson.

The arrest was reportedly related to testimony Coulson gave in the trial of Tommy Sheridan, a former Scottish lawmaker who was convicted of lying during a legal hearing.

Coulson was editor from 2003 to ’07 of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, which was closed down last year by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch amid revelations that the newspaper had been involved in phone hacking.

In a 2006 civil case, Sheridan successfully sued the News of the World for libel over stories about adulterous conduct in swingers clubs. He was awarded about $300,000 but was later convicted of committing perjury over the tabloid’s charges and sentenced to three years in jail. He served one year.

During his time as Cameron’s press officer, Coulson testified in Sheridan’s perjury trial. In that case, the former lawmaker claimed he had been targeted by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, known to have carried out phone interceptions for the News of the World. Coulson denied knowledge of phone hacking during his tenure as editor.

On Wednesday, Coulson was taken by Scottish police from his London home for questioning in Glasgow, Scotland. Unlike in England, Scottish law decrees that suspects are not arrested but detained when under suspicion. Police said later that Coulson had been arrested and charged.

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-- Janet Stobart

Photo: Andy Coulson in London on May 10, 2012. Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga / European Pressphoto Agency

 
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