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[June 25, 2014]
PM's ex spin doctor convicted [South Wales Echo (UK)]
(South Wales Echo (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE Prime Minister has apologised after his ex-No 10 spin doctor was found guilty of plotting to hack phones while he was editor of the News of the World.
Andy Coulson, who was forced to resign as David Cameron's director of communications over the scandal, now faces up to two years in jail for hacking following the highprofile trial at the Old Bailey.
The jury of eight women and three men found him guilty of conspiring to hack phones but cleared ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks of all charges.
Following the verdict, Mr Cameron said: "I take full responsibility for employing Andy Coulson. I did so on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking and those turned out not to be the case.
"I always said that if they turned out to be wrong, I would make a full and frank apology and I do that today.
"I am extremely sorry that I employed him. It was the wrong decision and I am very clear about that." Chancellor George Osborne added: "We gave him a second chance but, knowing what we now know, it's clear that we made the wrong decision." Lord Prescott, who was targeted by the NotW while he was in the Labour government, said he wrote to Mr Cameron, questioning his decision to employ Coulson but received no reply.
He said: "Cameron's apology today is the very minimum he could do. But his blind acceptance of Coulson's innocence, with next to no due diligence, exposes his appallingly poor judgment." Coulson showed no immediate reaction to the guilty verdict. He stood in the dock with his hands behind his back and clenching his jaw before taking a deep breath.
The jury are still considering verdicts on the 46-year-old, of Charing, Kent, who is also charged with two counts of conspiring with former royal editor Clive Goodman 56, of Addlestone, Surrey, to commit misconduct in a public office by agreeing to pay police officers for two royal directories.
They both deny the charges.
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