EX-NOTW Editor Rebekah Brooks in court to enter plea
EX-News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks is due to enter her plea in a London court on charges of trying to cover up phone hacking that led to the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid’s closure.
Brooks, 44, is set to appear at London’s Old Bailey on Wednesday along with her racehorse trainer husband, Charlie Brooks, 49, and four other people also charged in May with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The defendants, who were released on bail, will enter their pleas on the conspiracy charges in a hearing that will also handle charges of phone hacking against Brooks and seven others including six ex-News of the World (NOTW) journalists.
They are not expected to plead on Wednesday on the phone-hacking charges, but the judge may decide whether there will be two separate trials or just one.
In a public appearance after she was charged with conspiracy, Brooks said she was “baffled”.
“One day the details of the case will emerge and people will see today as nothing more than an expensive sideshow, and a waste of public money as a result of a weak and unjust decision,” she said.
Rebekah Brooks faces three charges of removing boxes of material from the archive of News International (NI) – the paper’s parent company – and trying to hide documents, computers and other material from police.
The charges relate to the frantic last days of the 168-year-old News of the World in July 2011.
Charlie Brooks, his wife’s personal assistant Cheryl Carter, her chauffeur Paul Edwards, NI head of security Mark Hanna, and Daryl Jorsling, who provided security for Brooks that was supplied by NI, also face one charge each.
A seventh person, former NI security employee Lee Sandell, was also charged on September 12 with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The charges carry a maximum term of life imprisonment.
Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson is also due to appear in court on Wednesday along with five other journalists from the now-defunct tabloid the News of the World (NOTW), as well as private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
Ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup are also facing charges.
The seven former NOTW staff face one general accusation of conspiracy to access voicemails, that prosecutors say could affect up to 600 victims, along with other charges related to specific people.
Mulcaire is accused of four counts related to particular individuals.
Rebekah Brooks edited the NOTW from 2000 to 2003 before taking up the same post at The Sun, Murdoch’s top-selling British daily tabloid.
At one time she moved in the highest circles of British politics, and testified to a press ethics inquiry in May about her close friendship with Prime Minister David Cameron.
She resigned as NI chief executive days after the News of the World closed in disgrace following revelations that it had hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.
Scotland Yard set up three separate investigations into phone hacking, computer hacking and alleged illicit payments to public officials, under which dozens of arrests have been made.