British P.m. Defends Besieged Communications Director
British Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken out in support of his director of communications, Andy Coulson, as authorities launch new probes into the extent of voicemail hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World London tabloid while Coulson was its editor. Coulson has continued to maintain that he knew nothing of the hacking. During a BBC Radio interview on Monday, Cameron noted that Coulson had resigned from the News of the World when the hacking activity came to light, even though he was unaware that it was occurring. He said that he had given Coulson "a second chance" when he appointed him and suggested that it was not right that Colson should be "punished twice for the same offense." Asked about a report that Coulson had submitted his resignation and that he had rejected it, Cameron declined to answer, saying he did not "go into private conversations." Meanwhile former England soccer star Paul Gascoigne has said that he plans to sue the tabloid, claiming that the realization that his private conversations were being audited had contributed to his depression and alcohol and drug dependence. The London Independent reported today (Tuesday) that British comedian Steve Coogan, talk-show host Chris Tarrant, and jockey Kieren Fallon are also likely to bring lawsuits against the News of the World. Sports agent Sky Andrew, actress Sienna Miller, and Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray have already filed lawsuits related to the alleged hacking activities.