Andy Coulson, a former editor of the now-shuttered Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid News of the World, was found guilty of conspiring to intercept communications, concluding a lengthy trial focused on criminal activity at the British paper. According to the Associated Press, fellow News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Stuart Kuttner were acquitted.
Coulson and fellow former News of the World employees Brooks, Kuttner, and royal editor Clive Goodman were on trial for charges stemming their alleged roles in the tabloid's widespread hacking of the voicemails and phones of crime victims, celebrities, politicians, and British royalty in order to find fodder for stories. The scandal became major international news after it was reported that News of the World had accessed the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a murdered teenager.
Brooks' personal assistant Cheryl Carter, her husband Charlie, and Mark Hanna, a former security official for News International, were "acquitted of perverting the course of justice by attempting to hide evidence from police."
The AP reports that the jury is "still considering two further charges of paying officials for royal phone directories against Coulson and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman."
While the hacking allegations gathered steam in 2011, News of the World, which had been operating for 168 years, was shut down.
The trial of several News Corp. employees accused of being involved in the widespread phone hacking scandal has now entered its third month. British royalty, actors, politicians and crime victims all had their privacy compromised. In February, the prosecution -- which rested its case during the month -- alleged that former Prime Minister Tony Blair offered to "secretly advise" News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch as the scandal unfolded. Testimony from former News Corp. executive Rebekah Brooks supplied the bulk of information for the month, as the defense began its presentation. Among other revelations, Brooks admitted to authorizing "half a dozen" payments to public officials during her time working as an editor at The Sun.
Days after former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and other journalists connected to News Corp were formally charged in relation to the phone hacking case, more journalists were arrested regarding allegations that a News Corp newspaper used stolen phones.
From Bloomberg News:
A second journalist at News Corp. (NWSA)'s Sun tabloid was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods as part of a police probe into allegations that the newspaper used data from mobile phones that were ripped off.
Police arrested a 37-year-old journalist today, the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement. That follows the arrest of a 51-year-old man yesterday. Both men worked at the Sun, according to an official at News Corp.'s U.K. unit, who asked not to be identified, citing company policy.
The alleged thefts are the latest accusation against News Corp.'s U.K. publishing business, News International, whose reporters and editors have been accused of hacking into mobile- phone voice mails and e-mails, bribing public officials and disrupting police investigations. Sue Akers, the MPS deputy assistant commissioner, said last week that officers had discovered that News International journalists had information that appeared to be from stolen phones.
About 60 people have been arrested since the police investigations began last year. Eight former News Corp. journalists were charged last week with conspiring to intercept voice mail, including former News International Chief Executive Officer Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, an ex-lead tabloid editor who later became an adviser to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.
A July 24 Reuters article reported that Rebekah Brooks, a former executive in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., will be charged with "phone-hacking offenses" along with former News of the World editor Andy Coulson.
Brooks was the former CEO of News Corp.'s British newspaper division, News International, the group in charge of News of the World when the newspaper became the center of a scandal involving phone hacking.
From Reuters, via Huffington Post:
Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-media chief and Rupert Murdoch's former UK newspaper boss are to be charged with phone-hacking offences in the most significant development in a scandal that has rocked Britain's establishment.
Prosecutors said on Tuesday Andy Coulson, who was Cameron's communications chief from 2007 until January 2011, and Rebekah Brooks, who was courted by a succession of prime ministers including Cameron in her role as Murdoch's UK newspaper chief, would be charged with offences linked to the hacking.
The alleged offences were committed when both were editor of the News of the World newspaper, the Sunday tabloid which Murdoch was forced to close last July amid public revulsion at the phone-hacking revelations.
Six other senior former News of the World journalists and staff are also to be charged. The maximum sentence for the phone-hacking charges is two years in prison and/or a fine.
A May 15 New York Times article reported that Rebekah Brooks, a former executive in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., will be prosecuted on various charges stemming from the phone hacking scandal surrounding News Corp. Brooks was the former CEO of News Corp.'s British newspaper division, News International. From The New York Times:
Once among the most powerful figures in the British media, with close contacts stretching from her boss, Rupert Murdoch, to her friend, David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Mr. Murdoch's British newspaper empire, was told by prosecutors on Tuesday that she, her husband and four others will face charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in the hacking scandal that has burrowed into public life here.
It was the first time the charges have been formulated since police reopened inquiries into the affair in January 2011 and intensified their questioning six months later. The development brought the scandal to a watershed between criminal investigations, which have resulted in around 50 people being arrested and then set free on bail, and the prospect of trial before robed judges.
The six were accused variously of concealing documents, computers and archive material from officers investigating the scandal last July.
The News Corporation phone hacking and bribery story has brought down executives, reporters, editors, and government officials. Here is a list of arrests, convictions, firings, suspensions, and resignations that have occurred during the scandal.