Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the now-defunct News of the World, as well as her husband and several associates have been charged in connection with the phone-hacking scandal carried out by reporters at the newspaper.
Brooks, her husband Charles, her personal assistant Cheryl Carter, News International head of security Mark Hanna, chauffeur Paul Edwards, and security guard Daryl Jorsling have been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced today.
According to the charges, Rebekah Brooks conspired with her husband, Carter, Hanna, Edwards, and Jorsling between July 6-19 to conceal evidence from Scotland Yard. Rebekah Brooks and Carter also removed seven boxes of material from the News International archives, while Rebekah, Charles, Hanna, Edwards, and Jorsling concealed documents, computers, and other electronic equipment from Scotland Yard between July 15-19, CPS said.
Rebekah Brooks was arrested in London in July on suspicion of corruption and conspiring to hack into the cell phones of celebrities and crime victims. The arrest came two days after Brooks resigned as chief executive of News International, which published the News of the World until it folded amidst the hacking scandal. She was editor at News of the World from 2000 to 2003 before moving on to The Sun, which she edited until taking the helm at News International in 2009.
The charges come after Scotland Yard turned over evidence to CPS on March 27, according to Alison Levitt, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“All these matters relate to the ongoing police investigation into allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the News of the World and The Sun newspapers,” Levitt said.
Those charged are expected to post bail at police stations later today and will then appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court at a later date.
Last year, the News of the World was accused of hacking into the voicemail of a young murder victim while the investigation into her disappearance was still ongoing. The paper allegedly deleted voicemail messages, giving her parents false hope that she was alive and accessing her phone. There were also reports that the paper hacked into the phones of those affected by the July 2005 London terrorist bombings, as well as those of celebrities. This was not the only hacking incident; the paper was already punished for phone hacking several years ago, but this particular revelation snowballed, prompting a lengthy debate in the House of Commons, allegations of police bribery, and the shutdown of the paper.
The issue made its way to the U.S., with several members of Congress calling for an investigation into whether this affected victims of 9/11. That request has reportedly resulted in an FBI investigation.
Earlier this month, a parliamentary committee found that the phone-hacking scandal illustrates that News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch is not fit to run his company. In response, the News Corp. board of directors announced its full confidence in Murdoch.
In the months since the scandal broke, however, Murdoch’s son James has stepped down as chairman of the News Corp.-owned BSkyB.
For more, see How Did News of the World Hack Victims’ Cell Phones?
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