Hacking Trial Nears End as Prosecution Makes Closing Arguments

Rebekah Brooks Andy Coulson Split - H 2013
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Rebekah Brooks Andy Coulson Split - H 2013

The trial of former News Corp top editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson and others has been running for more than six months.

LONDON – The phone hacking trial‎ here is entering its final stages with the prosecution on Thursday continuing closing arguments in the case, which has been running for more than six months.

At the center of the trial have been Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the News of the World tabloid and former CEO of the U.K. newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, and Andy Coulson, also an ex-editor of the paper and former head of communications for British prime minister David Cameron.

Among the other defendants are Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of News of the World, and Brooks' husband Charlie Brooks. The trial has focused on charges of phone hacking, bribing of public officials and conspiring to "pervert the course of justice."

Prosecutor Andrew Edis on Thursday told the jury that‎ Brooks' former assistant gave her a false alibi for the day Brooks' notebooks were removed and hidden from police, The Guardian reported.

The paper said Edis accused the assistant, Cheryl Carter, of deliberately lying to police when asked about the withdrawal of seven boxes from the company archive, saying that Brooks had been out of the office at a fitness "boot camp," while phone and other records showed she had been at the office.

Carter during the trial ‎said she had made a genuine mistake, but Edis concluded Thursday: "It doesn't support her general credibility as a witness that she said things like that."

In starting his closing speech on Wednesday, he had said that police investigating phone hacking allegations at the News of the World tabloid, which News Corp shuttered, found "a rotten state of affairs" at the top of the company's U.K. arm.

According to The Guardian, Edis told the jury: "What you have to decide is whether these one or two people above knew of that rotten state of affairs, which permeated the organization they were supposed to be running; or perhaps they never noticed?"

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