Hacking Trial: Andy Coulson, Clive Goodman to Be Retried on Bribery Counts

Phone Hacking
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In April 2011, attorneys for the phone-hacking victims alleged that as many as 7,000 people had their phones tapped into by the NOTW employees who had hired private investigators, starting in 2006, to access the mobile accounts of celebrities, athletes, politicians and other people of interest. Then, in 2007 the paper's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, was jailed for four months after pleading guilty to illegal interception of personal communication. Today, the paper's parent company News Corp. announced it would close the 168-year-old publication (its last printing will be July 10). News Corp. deputy CEO James Murdoch also admitted to paying out-of-court settlements amidst reports that some of the phones that had been hacked belonged to the family members of deceased war. The same day, former NOTW editor Andy Coulson was informed of his impending Friday arrest.

UPDATED: Britain's Crown Prosecution Service on Monday ?said it wants a new trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on two charges that they conspired to pay public officials for royal phone directories.

LONDON — The prosecution in the phone-hacking trial, which ended last week, is seeking a retrial of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and former royal editor Clive Goodman on two bribery counts, the BBC and The Guardian reported early Monday.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service on Monday ‎said it wants a new trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on two charges that they conspired to pay public officials, namely palace cops, for royal phone directories.

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‎The retrial is a matter of right, and the prosecution doesn't need to ask permission from anyone to proceed.

Coulson last week was found guilty on one count of conspiracy to hack phones. He is scheduled to be sentenced — along with four others — on Friday.

Public prosecutor Andrew Edis told the judge in the hacking case Monday that Coulson and other former News of the World staffers "utterly corrupted" the tabloid and turned it into a "thoroughly criminal enterprise," The Guardian reported. Highlighting that Coulson faces up to two years in prison, he said that the list of hacking victims "read like a Who's Who of Britain in the first five years of this century."

The paper quoted Edis as saying that "the full extent of hacking will never be known," but victims included "politicians, actors, [soccer players], suspected criminals, actual criminals."

He spoke on the first day of a sentencing hearing for Coulson and four former News of the World staffers or contractors who have pleaded guilty to hacking. They are former news desk editors Greg Miskiw, James Weatherup and Neville Thurlbeck, as well as Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who was used for hacking. Another former News of the World staffer who has also admitted to hacking will be sentenced separately.

"Between them, these defendants utterly corrupted that newspaper, which became at the highest level a thoroughly criminal enterprise," Edis said, adding that hacking at the tabloid reached "industrial scale."

The Guardian quoted Edis as saying that the prosecution would look to recover $1.28 million (£750,000) in trial costs from Coulson and his former colleagues who pleaded guilty. It was not clear if News Corp's U.K. newspaper arm was bound to indemnify Coulson for his portion of the costs. A previous separate ruling said that his defense costs must be covered by the company.

Also on Monday, the court heard that Mulcaire went bankrupt after failing to pay taxes on earnings from The News of the World, The Guardian reported.

Mulcaire's lawyer also said his client was facing "an enforced sale of the family house" by unnamed creditors.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai