Ex-Cameron Aide Detained Over Alleged Perjury
LONDON (AP) - The former top media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron was detained Wednesday on suspicion of perjury in the trial of a flamboyant ex-Scottish lawmaker - the latest case tied to allegations of wrongdoing by British tabloid newspapers.
Andy Coulson, 44, was detained by Scottish police at his home in London over an accusation related to evidence he gave in a high-profile case at Glasgow’s High Court in 2010, when politician Tommy Sheridan was himself convicted of offering a false account.
Sheridan had won a lawsuit against the now-defunct News of The World tabloid over its claim that he was embroiled in a sex-and-drugs scandal, but was later jailed for three years after a jury at the 2010 trial ruled that he had committed perjury when he sued the newspaper.
Coulson was editor of the tabloid when stories about Sheridan were published, and working as Cameron’s communications director when he gave evidence to the trial.
The ex-tabloid chief quit his post at the News of The World in 2007 after a reporter and a private investigator were jailed over phone hacking offenses, but later the same year was appointed as communications director to Cameron, then Britain’s opposition chief.
He quit in January 2011 amid new revelations about the extent over phone hacking at his former newspaper.
Cameron has insisted he had been right to offer Coulson a "second chance," but the aide’s arrest last year by London police investigating phone hacking, and his detention by Scottish police, have raised new questions about the British leader’s judgment. The prime minister’s ties to both Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, an ex-chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, have brought the tabloid phone hacking scandal to his door.
Scottish police said Coulson would be taken to Scotland for questioning, but that he had not yet been formally arrested. In Scotland, which uses a different legal system from the rest of Britain, a suspect can be detained by police to answer questions before being formally arrested.