Former News Corp. Executive Rebekah Brooks, Five Others Charged With Phone Hacking Cover-Up

2:01 AM PST 05/15/2012 by Georg Szalai

UPDATED: The former CEO of the conglomerate's U.K. newspaper unit News International and longtime ally of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is charged with "perverting the course of justice."

Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit News International and longtime ally of Rupert Murdoch, her husband Charlie Brooks and four others on Tuesday were told that they are being charged in relation to the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Tuesday that Brooks and the others "perverted the course of justice" and must face the criminal charges. The charges are not phone hacking itself, but relate to possible attempts to cover things up in its investigation. Authorities mentioned seven total suspects, with no further actions to be taken against one of them.

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The other people charged are Mark Hanna, who served as head of security at News International; Rebekah Brooks' personal assistant, Cheryl Carter; Brooks' chauffeur, Paul Edwards; and Daryl Jorsling, who was provided by News International to offer security services to Brooks.

Brooks herself is facing three charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice; the others face two each.

All six are being charged with concealing material from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service. Rebekah Brooks and Carter also "conspired together permanently to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International," authorities said. Plus, all but Carter are also being charged with conspiring to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from police.

"All seven suspects have this morning been informed of my decisions," said Alison Levitt, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions. "They are all due to answer their bail at police stations later today. 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.

"Following charge, these individuals will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on a date to be determined. May I remind all concerned that these six individuals now will be charged with criminal offences and that each has a right to a fair trial.

Brooks and her husband criticized the decision. "We deplore this weak and unjust decision," the Guardian quoted the couple as saying.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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