Another arrest in phone-hacking investigation as police zoom in on former managing editor

Joe Pompeo

London police have made another arrest in their investigation into past criminal activity at Rupert Murdoch's British papers.

Stuart Kuttner, a former managing editor at the recently shuttered News of the World, was arrested Tuesday on allegations of phone-hacking and bribing police, reports the UK Guardian's Amelia Hill. She describes the 71-year-old as the "public face of the News of the World and its most vocal public defender for 22 years."

Kuttner is the latest News of the World veteran to fall into the London police's ongoing probe of phone-hacking activity at the paper. The long-simmering scandal exploded a month ago when the Guardian reported that a murdered 13-year-old girl, the families of terrorist victims, and Iraq and Afghanistan war vets all were targeted for illegal phone hacks at the lurid tabloid. In the ensuing public uproar, the paper's parent company, Murdoch's News Corporation, shut it down.

Another high-profile arrest in the investigation occurred last month, when the police hauled in former News International executive Rebekah Brooks, who was editor-in-chief of News of the World when the paper allegedly hacked into the voicemail of the murdered child, Milly Dowler.  Brooks had already resigned her News International post at the time of her arrest.

In a July 19 hearing before Parliament, Brooks testified that payments to private detectives--a key stage in carrying out a phone-hacking project--would have gone through Kuttner under her editorship. In her testimony, Brooks also insisted that "my use of P.I.'s at News of the World was completely legitimate," and that "I can't remember if we ever discussed an individual payment."

Kuttner, whose is said to be in poor health, resigned from the paper in 2009 after 22 years of employment.

As Hill  notes: "Kuttner's role ... proved to be key to the tabloid under the editors, Rebekah Brooks--then Rebekah Wade--and her replacement, Andy Coulson, both of whom were reluctant to talk to the media."

Meanwhile, there are a few other recent developments in the fast-moving saga. Members of Parliament are questioning a technology firm that revealed hundreds of thousands of emails were deleted from News International's server on nine separate occasions. Nick Davies, the Guardian reporter who's delivered some of the biggest scoops of the scandal, has arrived in the United States to investigate the fallout on American shores. And one-time News of the World competitors the Sunday Mirror and Mail on Sunday are seeing a lull in sales after enjoying a boost in the wake of their rival's closure.