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Piers Morgan Entangled in Hackgate

The CNN anchor faces allegations about his tenure as editor of Rupert Murdoch-owned ”News of the World”

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CNN host and America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan, 46, is the latest public figure to be embroiled in the U.K.’s far-reaching phone-hacking scandal. The trouble began for him last month when Parliament member Louise Mensch falsely claimed that Morgan, who was once editor of the Daily Mirror and now-defunct News of the World, had admitted to hacking phones during his time running British tabloids. Mensch later said she was wrong and apologized, but not before setting off a firestorm that led to Twitter-fueled reports that CNN had suspended the Brit. Meanwhile, Morgan has emphatically defended himself: ”I never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any story based on the hacking of a phone,” he said on Wolf Blitzer‘s The Situation Room. And CNN is standing behind its man, saying, ”Piers Morgan has been firm and specific in his denial, and we continue to be supportive of his program.” Morgan may still have to appear before Parliament; regardless, the imbroglio hasn’t hurt the ratings for Piers Morgan Tonight, which is outperforming its predecessor, Larry King Live, by about 85,000 viewers a night since its launch in January.