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Tony Abbott admits he phoned ‘friend’ George Pell on the same day guilty verdict revealed

Tony Abbott has admitted he phoned convicted paedophile George Pell on the same day his guilty verdict was revealed.

Ben Fordham grilled the former prime minister on his support of the cardinal.

Mr Abbott conceded the jury’s decision must be respected but repeatedly referred to a pending appeal, saying “let’s wait and see what the law ultimately produces”.

The devout Catholic tells Ben Fordham he “accepts that this is a shocking result, a devastating result.”

“Shocking and devastating for whom?” asks Ben.

“Certainly for the friends of Cardinal Pell and as you say, I am one,” says Mr Abbott.

“Devastating for all who believe in the Catholic Church, and I’m also one of those.”

Mr Abbott has previously described George Pell as a “fine man” and after repeated questioning finally admitted he phoned him on the same day the guilty verdict was revealed.

“Yes Ben I spoke to him yesterday. It was a call that I put in to him. Yes, I called him.”

Ben also asked if he would still count George Pell as a friend if the appeal failed.

Mr Abbott dodged and weaved, refusing to give a straight answer.

Click PLAY below to hear the explosive interview