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EDITIONS
Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
The Archer tapes
In 1999 the News of the World secretly recorded the following conversations between Ted Francis and Lord Archer. The tapes were played to the jury.

Click here to listen to the tapes.

The phonecalls were an attempt by Mr Francis and the newspaper to make Lord Archer incriminate himself and admit to setting up a false alibi for 9 September 1986.

Mr Francis told the court that he had provided a false alibi for Lord Archer because he was requested to do so to cover-up an extra-marital indiscretion.

He said it was only after the 1987 libel trial had taken place that he realised he had provided a cover story for possible use during the libel trial.


TRANSCRIPT OF CONVERSATION ONE


Ted Francis:

...then we had dinner there didn't we?


Jeffrey Archer:

We did.


Ted Francis:

Sambucca.


Jeffrey Archer:

Sambucca.


Ted Francis:

That's it.


Jeffrey Archer:

At that little restaurant.


Ted Francis:

And Ernie Saunders walked in.


Jeffrey Archer:

Correct.


Ted Francis:

It all came flooding back to me.


Jeffrey Archer:

What a good memory you have.


We have got to be careful Ted. We don't want to go to court of law with this

Jeffrey Archer

Ted Francis:

And I remember you saying to me: "Look - meet the maitre-d and the waiter so they recognise you" and I remember saying to you - "well they'll recognise me anyway because I have bloody well eaten here before". And then you said to me "What were you doing on September the 9th last year?"


Jeffrey Archer:

I'm going to find that.


Ted Francis:

And you said: "Well we had dinner here didn't we?" and I said "Well if you say so". Do you remember?


Jeffrey Archer:

Yeah, but we have got to be careful Ted. We don't want to go to court of law with this.


TRANSCRIPT OF CONVERSATION TWO


Jeffrey Archer:

Ted.


Ted Francis:

Jeffrey, I am sorry to bother you again.


Jeffrey Archer:

Not at all.


Ted Francis:

This bloody business is getting rather heavy now.


Jeffrey Archer:

But I thought you were just going to put the phone down on him.


Ted Francis:

Well I was but now Quick's(?) saying that he knows for certain that we cooked up that alibi.


Jeffrey Archer:

Ted, he does not know - he is trying to get you to say... [tape indistinct]


Ted Francis:

But he has given me the evidence - or he's told me about the evidence.


Jeffrey Archer:

And what is the evidence?


Ted Francis:

He says that I was at the Grand Hotel in Brighton and that he has got, what do you call it, one of my credit card receipts for it. I couldn't remember and now it has all come back to me.


Jeffrey Archer:

Oh, good God, that's interesting.


Ted Francis:

I was there with a guy called John Stevens(??) and I don't know whether Quick (?) has spoken to him or not. But we went down there to see his girlfriend who is working as a nurse.


Jeffrey Archer:

Oh right.


Ted Francis:

And that is why it has all come back.


Jeffrey Archer:

But that night is not relevant.


Ted Francis:

Which night?


Jeffrey Archer:

The night that we were meant to have been at that restaurant.


Ted Francis:

Oh, the September the 9th...


Jeffrey Archer:

...Was not the night that I'm meant to have seen the girl.


Ted Francis:

Oh right.


Jeffrey Archer:

They are not even connected.


Ted Francis:

So are you saying...


Jeffrey Archer:

Didn't you realise that?


Ted Francis:

No.


Jeffrey Archer:

Oh gosh. Oh, I am sorry Ted you have been through all this, I apologise.


Ted Francis:

Oh God.


Jeffrey Archer:

It is a different day.


Ted Francis:

So, why did we cook up the alibi?


Jeffrey Archer:

Because they changed the day and then they changed it back.


Ted Francis:

And you were covering?


Jeffrey Archer:

Yes. I am so sorry you didn't realise.


Ted Francis:

I could imagine... well, I don't want to be unfair to him... but if I were to say to him "Look, this is the status quo. You may be contacted by a freelance journalist and he will talk about you and I being together in the Grand Hotel in Brighton..."


Jeffrey Archer:

That night.


Ted Francis:

...that night and I happened to have cooked up an alibi for Jeffrey...


Jeffrey Archer:

And that would be terrible.


Ted Francis:

...and he would turn round and say... well I am not going to tell a lie - you can tell lies for your friends if you like, but I am not going to tell lies to you although we are old friends, because you know I am not like that.


Jeffrey Archer:

Quite right - that is fair enough. That is fair enough, Ted. So he can't know Mr X?


Ted Francis:

No.


Jeffrey Archer:

There is no way. So if you don't tell Mr X - Mr X can't know...


Ted Francis:

That's right.


Jeffrey Archer:

If you see what I mean.


Ted Francis:

Yeah - I mean yes, that is assuming he doesn't know him. But I can think of no reason why he would know him.


Jeffrey Archer:

I thought the wise thing to do was to have a chat to Mishcon. Although the man is now 80, the brain is still like a bloody Rolls Royce. He's taken it as a very great compliment and anyway he will bill for it [tape indistinct here] - to go in and go through the entire papers.

The following things to let you know: (1) You were never mentioned or at any time referred to in the trial or any papers connected with it. (2) I never made a statement about you - either an affidavit or statement because by the time your letter had come they had changed the date so you became an irrelevance.

He's naturally worried about how they got hold of the letter - mystified and worried - but nevertheless, he says, as long as you say nothing - they have got nothing.


Ted Francis:

Well I am feeling much more sanguine about it anyway since our last conversation [tape indistinct here] because when you said to me - what the trigger was ...when you said me "Well look - I was here"...


Jeffrey Archer:

Oh yes, yes I was.


Ted Francis:

???? [tape indistinct] sign the treaty for them both.


Jeffrey Archer:

Correct


Ted Francis:

I won't (?) tell anyone - you're not going to tell anyone... [tape indistinct] Andrina... she's not going to tell anyone?


Jeffrey Archer:

She doesn't even know.


Ted Francis:

And she doesn't know?


Jeffrey Archer:

No.


Ted Francis:

Well there you are.


Jeffrey Archer:

She hasn't got a clue.


Ted Francis:

So, I'll have a nice weekend.

END.



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