Ex-UK tabloid editor Andy Coulson cleared of perjury

AP News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2015 7:42 AM
Ex-UK tabloid editor Andy Coulson cleared of perjury

LONDON (AP) — Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was cleared of perjury Wednesday after a judge said the alleged lies he told under oath were not relevant to the trial in question.

Judge David Burns told jurors at Edinburgh High Court that "not every lie amounts to perjury."

Coulson, who edited the now-defunct Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid between 2003 and 2007 and later served as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief, had been charged with lying in a 2010 trial of former Scottish lawmaker Tommy Sheridan.

Coulson was accused of lying about his knowledge of phone hacking — the tabloid's practice of eavesdropping on the voicemail messages of politicians, celebrities and people in the public eye.

He was convicted last year at another trial of conspiracy to hack phones and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was released in November after serving five months.

Burns acquitted Coulson Monday but legal restrictions meant the decision could not be reported until he informed the jury on Wednesday.

The judge said Wednesday that even if Coulson had lied under oath, "the lies were not relevant and do not amount to perjury."

He discharged the jury and told Coulson he was free to leave the court.

Outside court, Coulson said: "I am just delighted that after four pretty testing years that my family and myself have finally had a good day."