Piers Morgan has denied ordering any illegal hacking when he was editor of London's Daily Mirror tabloid—but now the paper is being sued by some who claim otherwise.
Sven-Göran Eriksson, former coach of the English national football team; retired football player Garry Flitcroft; actress Shobna Gulati; and Abbie Gibson, who used to work as a nanny for David Beckham's family, have filed suit against Trinity Mirror, claiming that reporters from the company's papers hacked their voice-mail accounts.
"There might not be a documentary smoking gun, but we will show there is a smoking bullet, the consequence of the actions," an attorney for the group, Mark Lewis (who also represented plaintiffs who sued News of the World parent News International over hacking), told Britain's Sky News.
The lawsuit, filed with London's High Court, alleges that the hacking took place while Morgan was editor, between 1995 and 2004.
Trinity Mirror, which puts out the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and The People, has previously denied engaging in the sort of behavior that tripped up the now-defunct News of the World after more than a century in business.
Testifying at a government inquiry into hacking last year, Morgan denied every ordering staffers to illegally acquire information.
"It doesn't necessarily follow that listening to someone else talking to someone else is unethical," he replied when grilled over how he obtained recordings of Paul McCartney's ex-wife, Heather Mills.
In May, meanwhile, BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman told a media ethics panel that Morgan taught him how to hack a mobile's voice-mail account a decade ago—and Paxman told a story that involved Morgan teasing another TV personality about a conversation she had with Sven-Göran Eriksson.
"I don't know if he was making this up, making up the conversation," Paxman told the panel. "But it was clearly something he was familiar with and I wasn't. I didn't know that this went on."