The Two-Way
4:09 am
Wed June 5, 2013

British Phone Hacking Scandal: Rebekah Brooks Pleads Not Guilty

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 8:04 am

Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive and former top editor at the tabloid News of the World, pleaded not guilty to five charges related to the phone hacking scandal that has rocked England.

The Guardian reports that Brooks made an appearance on Wednesday at the Southwark crown court in London alongside her husband, Charlie Brooks, a co-defendant in the case and a friend of Prime Minister David Cameron. The Guardian adds:

"[Brooks] pleaded not guilty to one charge relating to an alleged conspiracy to hack phones between October 2000 and August 2006 and not guilty to two further charges relating to an alleged conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office by paying public officials money for stories.

"The former News International chief also pleaded not guilty to two further charges connected to allegations that she conspired to pervert the course of justice after she was arrested in July 2011 in relation to alleged phone hacking."

If you remember, this case revolves around allegations that publications owned by Rupert Murdoch illegally accessed the voicemails of the high-profile people they covered. It all came to a head over the case of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old British girl who went missing in 2002.

As Mark explained last year:

"During the search for Milly, private investigator Mulcaire — who was being paid by News of the World — accessed her cellphone's voicemails. To make room for more messages, he deleted some. That gave Milly's parents hope that she might still be living and may have affected the investigation into her disappearance. She wasn't alive. Milly had been murdered."

Sky News reports that other high-profile journalists accused in the case also pleaded not guilty. The network reports:

"Clive Goodman, who was the royal editor for the News Of The World, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of paying public officials in return for information.

"James Weatherup, who was news editor at the newspaper, and Stuart Kuttner, who was managing editor, pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy to hack phones."

All the defendants, reports Sky, were released on bail. The trials are scheduled for later this year.

Clarification at 12:12 p.m. ET.

An earlier version of this post said Brooks arrived at the court with her husband and her friend David Cameron, and that Cameron was a co-defendant in the case. That sentence should have made clear that the prime minister is not a co-defendant.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.