News of the World Hacking Trial: Brooks Cleared, Coulson Guilty

British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized Tuesday for his professional connection to former News of the World editor Andy Coulson. Latvia State Chancellery (CC-BY-SA)

Rebekah Brooks is officially off the hook. For those who might not know, or might have lost track of this story in the whirl of the spin cycle, Brooks is the former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid in the United Kingdom.

Brooks, along with her colleague Andy Coulson, were the highest-ranking defendants of the seven former employees from News of the World who were involved in a phone-hacking trial that would have been just the kind of fodder the paper would have covered had its senior management not been directly implicated. While Brooks was cleared of all the charges she faced since the scandal erupted three years ago, Coulson didn’t fare so well.

The BBC brought news of the verdict Tuesday:

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has been found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones.

[…] Royals, celebrities and victims of crime were among those whose phones were hacked by the News of the World.

The paper was closed by its parent company, News International, in July 2011 after it emerged that it had instructed a private investigator to intercept — or “hack” — voicemails left on the mobile phone of murdered Surrey teenager Milly Dowler in 2002.

Police say thousands of people’s phones were targeted, and BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said Coulson’s conviction showed a “widespread criminal conspiracy going to a very, very senior level” at the News of the World.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was also affected, as he hired Coulson as his director of communications after Coulson left News of the World. Cameron apologized on the record, telling the BBC that hiring the former editor “was the wrong decision.”

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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