Scotland Yard had doubts about Will Lewis' cooperation

Obtaining the company's voluntary cooperation seemed more appropriate.

While Mr. Cheesbrough described a long-planned email update in that Feb. 9 meeting, police records indicate, and investigators say, he left out a fact that investigators only recently learned, as evidence surfaced in the lawsuit for hacking: most of the emails had been deleted just a few days earlier, in the key first days of the investigation. And Mr. Lewis was involved in that decision.

In January, the company deleted about 11 million emails, according to the lawsuits.

Then, on Feb. 3, Mr. Lewis sent an email giving the “green light” to delete another 15.2 million emails, the plaintiffs said, citing News Corporation documents.

It wasn’t until March, after those deletions, that the company and the police reached an agreement. In the future, investigators could ask the company to run keyword and name searches, which would be handled by a third party, then filtered through the company to consider raising objections.

As of April, the company had delivered only 54 emails, according to the plaintiffs' documents.

It was during this period that Mr Lewis became the main point of contact for the police, helping to cement his reputation as a key collaborator. The Guardian newspaper, which opened the wiretapping scandal, called him “News Corp's cleanup campaigner.” Even Sue Akers, head of the task force, would later say that relations with the company had improved with Mr. Lewis's arrival.

But investigators closest to the case soon began to doubt this new spirit of cooperation. When potential evidence began to be presented under the new protocol, Detective Sgt. Wayne Harknett, a computer specialist, noticed something strange. Despite the deletions, “the emails we expected to find did not appear to be there,” he said in a previously unreported document.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *