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Coulson denies hearing hacked Daniel Craig message

LONDON (AP) — Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson on Tuesday denied a claim that he listened to a hacked voicemail left by actress Sienna Miller for James Bond star Daniel Craig.

Coulson and six others are on trial on charges stemming from the revelation in 2011 that the News of the World regularly eavesdropped on the voicemails of people in the public eye. The scandal led Rupert Murdoch to shut the newspaper and pay millions in compensation to hacking victims.

Ex-reporter Daniel Evans, who has pleaded guilty to phone hacking, testified earlier this year that he played Coulson the message from Miller in 2005. Prosecutors have suggested illegal hacking was the source of a story about an affair between Miller — then dating actor Jude Law — and Craig. Defense lawyers say the information may instead have come from a relative of Law.

Coulson said the meeting Evans described had not taken place. He added that he was "absolutely not" aware of phone hacking by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was employed by the newspaper. All seven defendants deny wrongdoing. Coulson, who served as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief after leaving the News of the World in 2007, denies conspiring to hack phones and conspiring to pay a police officer for a royal phone directory.

Coulson said Tuesday that he "rubber-stamped" a request for a 1,000 pound cash payment for the directory, but did not believe they money was for an illegal purpose. Jurors were shown a 2003 email to Coulson from royal editor Clive Goodman, warning that getting caught making the payment meant the police officer "could end up on criminal charges, as could we."

Coulson said that at the time "I didn't believe Clive was paying policemen. I still don't believe it." Goodman was briefly jailed in 2007, along with Mulcaire, for eavesdropping on the voicemails of royal aides.

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