Former Murdoch deputy, News International chief exec to be charged in phone hacking coverup

The Guardian | Crown Prosecution Service
The former head of News Corp.’s UK newspapers will face criminal charges for her role in covering up the phone hacking scandal that led to News of the World’s closing. Rebekah Brooks, who was chief executive of News International from 2009 to 2011, “conspired with her husband, Charles Brooks, and others to pervert the course of justice,” the British Crown Prosecution Service announced this morning.

Brooks and her husband released this statement, published by The Guardian: “We deplore this weak and unjust decision. After the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS we will respond later today after our return from the police station.”

CPS says Brooks and her husband removed documents and other material from the News International archives. Four other people are also being charged. One of those, Cheryl Carter, was Brooks’ personal assistant and later a News of the World columnist. She is accused of helping Brooks “permanently to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International” and of conspiring to conceal material from the police.

Brooks was arrested in March as part of the Metropolitan Police Service (a.k.a. Scotland Yard)’s “Operation Weeting” inquiry, one of three inquiries into allegations connected with phone-hacking at the News of the World. Brooks appeared before the Leveson inquiry Friday, where she was questioned about her closeness to British Prime minister David Cameron, who is planning an appearance at the Leveson inquiry.

The Daily Telegraph has a good primer on Brooks’ life. The Guardian is live-blogging events connected to today’s announcement.

Circulation figures released last week show News International’s remaining British papers, The Sun and The Times, have both suffered sales decreases over the past year; The Times is down nearly 13 percent daily and The Sunday Times is down 6 percent. The Sun is down about 6 percent daily. Sales of its Sunday paper, which was launched after News of the World closed, were 2,297,441. Sales were down generally at British newspapers.

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