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Journalist: CNN star Piers Morgan must have known about tabloid phone hacking

A former Daily Mirror journalist is challenging CNN star Piers Morgan's testimony to a media ethics inquiry, saying Morgan must have known about phone hacking.
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

A former Daily Mirror journalist is challenging CNN star Piers Morgan's testimony to a media ethics inquiry, saying Morgan must have known about phone hacking at the tabloid he once edited.

James Hipwell said Wednesday that Morgan was intimately involved in the day-to-day operation of his paper, where he claims phone hacking took place as a matter of routine.

"I witnessed journalists carrying out repeated privacy infringements using what has now become a well-known technique — to hack into the voicemail systems of celebrities, their friends, publicists and public relations executives," Hipwell said in a statement read to the inquiry, according to BBC News.

"The openness and frequency of their hacking activities gave me the impression that hacking was considered a bog-standard journalistic tool for gathering information," he added.

On Tuesday, Morgan claimed tabloid editors only knew about 5 percent of what went on at their papers.

Morgan denies being connected to the phone hacking scandal, which has shaken Britain's media establishment.

Hipwell and Morgan have a long history. Both were investigated as part of an inquiry into market manipulation after it emerged that Morgan had made a quick profit by buying shares which were promoted in the next day's edition of the paper.

Morgan was cleared of wrongdoing, but Hipwell and another tipster, Anil Bhoyrul, were convicted in 2005.

Hipwell said that he always believed that his former boss had been as guilty as he was.

"I can understand why people think that I have an axe to grind against him," Hipwell told the inquiry.