Andy Coulson Released From Prison

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The former News of the World editor served nearly five months after being sentenced to 18 months in the phone-hacking trial

Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor and former communications chief of British prime minister David Cameron, was released from prison on Friday.

He served less than five months after getting an 18-month sentence for having been found guilty on one count during the phone-hacking trial. The BBC reported that he didn't speak to reporters outside the prison when he left.‎

In July, the 46-year-old was found guilty of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages during his time at the former Sunday tabloid that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp ended up shuttering amid the hacking scandal. He was widely expected to get an early release.

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The BBC said Coulson left Hollesley Bay Prison in Suffolk, England, Friday morning. He had started his sentence at a high-security prison but was transferred in September.

The BBC reported that the British Ministry of Justice declined to comment on Coulson's case but emphasized that inmates in Britain could leave prison "under home detention arrangements" before finishing half of their sentence. Coulson is believed to have to wear an electronic tag until he finishes serving half of his sentence.

The BBC quoted a Justice Department spokesman as saying: "Public protection is our first priority. Only prisoners who pass a strict risk assessment can be released on home detention curfew."

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