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Piers Morgan Tries, Fails to Extricate Himself From U.K. Phone-Hacking Scandal

Heather Mills, Piers Morgan Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images; Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Well this doesn't look good.

Testifying before a government inquiry today in Great Britain about his alleged involvement in the phone hacking scandal, CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan didn't do himself any favors when he refused to answer questions about the illegal activities said to have occurred on his watch as the editor of the Daily Mail between 1995 and 2004.

"I have no reason...to believe [hacking] was going on," he told the London-based panel via video link.

Tell that to Paul McCartney.

MORE: Hugh Grant's Awfully Big Phone-Hacking Victory

During intense grilling, when asked whether he had listened in at any time to a voicemail the former Beatle left with his then-wife, Heather Mills, the newly departed America's Got Talent judge admitted that he had done so, and even acknowledged hearing Sir Paul singing "We Can Work It Out" as the couple were making up after a nasty fight.

But he declined to reveal who played the tape for him or how he even came to hear it on the grounds that "it would compromise a source."

It now appears that said source had broken the law as Mills has stated there was no way anyone might have heard the message unless she was hacked.

Per the U.K.'s Guardian, Morgan denied having listened to a hacked message. He also refuted suggestions that he was "directly involved" in hiring private investigators to ferret out information for the tabloid, nor did he condone the apparently widespread practice of paying police informants for tips.

Digging himself a deeper hole, when asked whether eavesdropping in on a private recording was ethical, the editor turned TV personality hedged.

"It doesn't necessarily follow that listening to someone else talking to someone else is unethical," he told the panel.

MORE: Watch Rupert Murdoch Get Grilled and (Pie'd!) at Parliamentary Hearing

Inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson subsequently threatened to call Mills in to testify that she did not give permission for anyone to listen to that voice message.

To add to his increasing credibility gap, Morgan later confessed that his staff digitally altered an August 1997 photo of the late Princess Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed to make it look like they were kissing.

"Yeah, it was a stupid thing to do," he said, while in the same breath adding, "We didn't actually con the public because it was exactly the same as the picture that was going to appear in a rival paper the next day...it was to do with the introduction of digital photography...[but] we all thought, 'This is not a good idea.'"

No, apparently not.

PICS: Court Appearances

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