Former News Corp. legal exec arrested

Tom Crone held by police investigating phone hacking

LONDON — News Intl.’s former legal eagle Tom Crone was arrested Thursday by U.K. police investigating phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World newspaper.

Crone, ex-legal manager at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid shuttered in July 2011, accused Murdoch of telling “a shameful lie” after the media mogul had said that “a clever lawyer” at the paper was involved in a cover-up.

The lawyer was held at his home in south-west London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, and was being questioned at a south London police station.

He is the 25th person to be arrested under Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into allegations of phone hacking.

Former News Intl. CEO Rebekah Brooks is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court Sept. 3 on charges linked to Operation Weeting.

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She is accused of one charge of conspiracy to illegally access voicemails, and two others relating to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and former British union boss Andrew Gilchrist.

The phone hacking and police corruption saga became toxic 13 months ago, forcing Rupert Murdoch to abandon his bid to own U.K. pay box BSkyB as public outrage grew.

The move on Crone follows Wednesday’s arrest of Patrick Foster, former media correspondent of the London Times, in connection with suspected computer hacking. Bob Bird, the former editor of the News of the World Scotland, was charged the same day for attempting to pervert the course of justice.