Former 'News of the World' Employees Charged With Phone Hacking Make First Court Appearance
LONDON - Seven former staffers of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit News International briefly appeared in a court here on Thursday to face phone hacking charges.
They were the first people to appear in court on actual phone hacking charges since the scandal reignited last summer and led to the shutdown of the News of the World tabloid.
The people making court appearances all used to work for the News of the World. They included Andy Coulson, a former editor of the tabloid who later also was prime minister David Cameron's communications director, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire who has been another key figure in the hacking scandal.
The others are Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor of the News of the World, Ian Edmondson, former assistant editor, Greg Miskiw, a former news editor, Neville Thurlbeck, former chief reporter, and James Weatherup, former assistant news editor.
Each of the journalists was earlier this summer charged with conspiring to intercept voicemail messages of well-known people and celebrities, including Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Paul McCartney, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Rebecca Brooks, the former CEO of News International, recently was formally charged with phone hacking and is expected to show up in a court on that charged early next month, but has previously only appeared in court to face charges of "perverting the course of justice" in the phone hacking scandal.
The seven men in court Thursday were all informed at the end of their 20-minute appearance that they must attend a preliminary hearing at London's Southwark Crown Court on Sept. 26.
The maximum penalty for each charge faced by the seven is two years in prison, a fine or both, according to the Guardian.
The seven previously said they plan to vigorously contest all allegations.