Piers Morgan Testifies in Phone Hacking Inquiry

CNN host says there was no phone hacking during his "New of the World" tenure

Piers Morgan sat in a conference room in Los Angeles Tuesday and testified by video link to a British media ethics inquiry into the phone hacking scandal that forced the closure of the News of the World tabloid, where Morgan was once editor.

"My evidence is that I have no reason or knowledge to believe it was going on," said Morgan.

Morgan repeatedly denied knowledge of phone hacking, even though he's acknowledged in the past he listened to a message left by Paul McCartney for Heather Mills.  Mills said she didn't know how he could have legally accessed the message.

Morgan's role in the British phone hacking inquiry may be a surprise to those who know him only from his career on U.S. television outlets. But those who know him from his days in Britain are watching the case with curiosity.  

"It's not just listening to messages," said entertainment writer Bryan Alexander."It's about admitting to paying people to go through people's garbage, which he doesn't seem to think is wrong."

Alexander writes for USA Today and used to live in Britain where Morgan started his career.

"He's a brawler, he's a fighter," says Alexander. "He doesn't back down and that was the Piers Morgan of old, fighting his way through the interview, defiant."

But will that defiance sit well with his current bosses at CNN?  Morgan was back on CNN Tuesday night, hours after testifying, with no mention of the phone hacking inquiry.

Alexander says he's not likely to bring it up, either.

"The fact is he's still being haunted by some of these mistakes of his past, but oh my God, I'm sure he would love to get beyond some of these things."

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