UPDATE: A spokesperson for Tony Blair has released a statement responding to Rebekah Brooks' email. “This was Mr Blair simply giving informal advice over the phone," the spokesperson said. Click over to the Independent for the full statement.
ORIGINAL STORY: Former British prime minister Tony Blair offered to give covert advice to Rupert Murdoch and his embattled deputies during the height of the phone hacking scandal, it emerged on Wednesday.
The jury in the criminal trial against former key Murdoch executive Rebekah Brooks and others was shown the contents of an email that Brooks sent to Murdoch's son, James, in July 2011 — just as the hacking scandal had exploded in Britain.
Brooks wrote that she'd spoken to Blair for an hour, that he had advised her to set up an independent inquiry into the scandal to "clear" her name, and that he had told her "He is available to you, KRM [Rupert Murdoch] and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us":
The email shows, if any proof was needed, how deeply connected Brooks and Murdoch were with the political class in Britain. The revelation that Blair was offering behind-the-scenes assistance also touched a nerve among some British journalists: