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LONDON – Rupert Murdoch‘s key London executive Rebekah Brooks refused to bow to immense public pressure Friday, telling a tense Town Hall meeting at News International’s Wapping headquarters that she would not step down.
In a meeting with a heavy security presence at which staff were banned from having phones, Facebook or internet access, Brooks told staff that she would be the “conductor” for the difficult process going forward.
“You may be angry with me and that I understand, but I am angry with the people who did this and I feel bitterly betrayed,” she told the meeting, according from Tweets from within the meeting.
Brooks’ decision to address staff with her plan to stay comes 24-hours after she was given the full support of James Murdoch, the deputy COO of News Corporation, who said “I am satisfied that Rebecca’s leadership and standard of ethics and standard of conduct throughout her career are very good,” Murdoch told Sky News.
“Her leadership is crucial right now and [it] is what has been moving this inquiry forward.”
However, support from both Rupert and James Murdoch comes as Brooks faces immense public and political pressure to step down.”
Prime Minister David Cameron moved to distance himself from the unraveling situation at News International, where a police investigation has arrested former NOTW editor Andy Coulson and is already preparing to interview other senior executives potentially including Brooks, former News International CEO Les Hinton and News Corporation COO James Murdoch.
“It won’t be a question of whether they have jobs or whether they are going to resign from those jobs,” he told reporters at a press conference in Downing Street.
“It’s a question of whether they are going to be prosecuted, whether they are going to be convicted, whether they are going to be punished,” Cameron added. “That is what is going to happen. I don’t know what these people at News International did know or didn’t know. Frankly, I don’t think any of us know. The key thing is that they are going to be investigated to the police.”
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