Piers Morgan is again facing questions about his involvement in phone hacking as part of a High Court legal war being waged by Prince Harry and other celebrities.
On the first day of a trial against The Daily Mirror, the British tabloid newspaper Morgan edited for nearly a decade, it was alleged that he “must have known” about illegal voicemail interception. Morgan has consistently denied any knowledge of phone hacking at the Mirror, which he edited from 1995 to 2004.
The trial has reignited the phone hacking debate in the UK more than a decade after Rupert Murdoch shut down the News of the World amid revelations about unlawful activity.
The High Court was told that Morgan, a presenter on Murdoch’s TalkTV and Fox News, openly discussed phone hacking in front of colleagues on Mirror Group Newspapers premises, according to The Guardian.
Former Mirror political editor David Seymour told the court how Morgan played a Paul McCartney voicemail to reporters, in which the Beatles star attempted to patch up his relationship with then-girlfriend Heather Mills by singing And I Love Her.
In another example, Omid Scobie, a royal journalist who has close ties to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, alleged that he overheard Morgan discussing obtaining information from voicemails when doing work experience at the Mirror in 2002.
Morgan responded to the allegations today by posting a screenshot from a Season 26 episode of South Park, in which characters resembling Prince Harry and Meghan Markle embark on a “worldwide privacy tour.”
He later told ITV News that Prince Harry should be apologizing for invading the privacy of his family.
“I’m not going to take lectures on privacy invasion from Prince Harry, somebody who has spent the last three years ruthlessly and cynically invading the Royal family’s privacy for vast commercial gain and told a pack of lies about them,” he said. “So I suggest he gets out of court and apologizes to his family for the disgraceful invasion of privacy that he’s been perpetrating.”
Mirror Group Newspapers has previously admitted that its journalists were involved in phone hacking and has paid out £100M ($126M) in settlements and legal costs to victims, according to The Guardian.
The newspaper group has denied that senior executives were aware of the unlawful activity. The company also denies hacking Prince Harry’s phone, but apologized to the Duke of Sussex today for using a private investigator to illegally gather evidence about him at a nightclub in 2004.
In his witness statement, Prince Harry told the High Court that unlawful activity at Mirror Group Newspapers contributed to “huge distress” and “paranoia.” He will give evidence at the trial in June, according to BBC journalist Katie Razzall.