Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks has told the Old Bailey that the paper did not want the names of journalists who benefited from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire's phone-hacking activities to come out in court because "he could say anyone or anything".
Giving evidence for a seventh day, Brooks was questioned about a civil liability case involving convicted hacker Mulcaire and the tabloid's publisher News Group Newspapers in 2010.
Jurors were taken through emails sent between the paper's lawyers and its senior management, including Brooks, which referred to a proposed order which would lead to all the reporters to whom Mulcaire had passed information being identified.
Brooks, 45, told the court: "We were opposing that order - again this is in the context of a civil liability - on the basis that he was an unreliable witness going forward naming names, and both financially and reputationally we didn't want that to happen.
"The view was that he could say anyone or anything."
During questioning from her lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw QC, Brooks was asked about Max Clifford, who was also involved in the civil case.
Brooks, who became chief executive of News International in 2009, said she had worked with the publicist since she was 25 or 26, with the News of the World paying him "millions and millions of pounds" for stories over the years.
But she added that he fell out with the paper and went on to work with its rival publications. Brooks, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, denies conspiring to hack phones, conspiring to commit misconduct in public office and conspiring to cover up evidence to pervert the course of justice.
All seven defendants deny the charges against them.
Mulcaire was jailed in January 2007 for unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages received by royal aides.
Brooks told the court that she had personally negotiated a £200,000-per-year verbal agreement for a "successful commercial relationship" with Mr Clifford so that he would drop civil proceedings against News International.
The deal, brokered in February 2010, brought the PR guru back to work with The Sun and the News of the World again after he was banned for "three or four years".
Mr Clifford demanded that the confidential agreement reflect losses he had incurred because of his ban at News International being public knowledge, the court heard.
"He felt that having News International out of the bidding picture, and the Mail Group and Mirror Group knowing that, he had lost out but it was impossible to quantify how much," Brooks said.
"It was unquantifiable but I felt it was true that Max had lost out so the deal had to reflect those three years he hadn't worked with NGN (News Group Newspapers)."
Asked if News International had also picked up the bill for Mr Clifford's legal fees, she said: "I believe so."