William Hague has "sympathy" for disgraced No 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson, who is facing up to two years in prison.
The Foreign Secretary said it was not true that he had introduced the former tabloid editor, who eventually was taken into No 10 as director of communications, to Tory high command,
Coulson, 46, was found guilty last Tuesday of being involved in the conspiracy to snoop on the voicemails of a host of celebrities, royals, politicians and ordinary members of the public.
"I've always got sympathy for the predicament of anybody I know who has fallen into very difficult situations or brought it on themselves," Mr Hague told BBC 1's Andrew Marr Show.
The former director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer, meanwhile has defended the costly hacking trial, which has left taxpayers with a bill of at least £1,745,752.
He insisted it was right that for mer Sun and News of the World Editor editor Rebekah Brooks, who was found not guilty on all charges, had gone to trial.
He told BBC 1's Andrew Marr Show: "Before this trial there was a feeling that journalists were above the law. I don't think there is that feeling any more."
"So far as Rebekah Brooks is concerned, the judge determined on a number of occasions there was a case to answer so it was a perfectly good case to bring.
"She answered it and I fully respect the jury's verdict. She put her case and she answered it."