Hacking Trial: Prosecution Reveals Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson Affair

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Andy Coulson

Andrew Edis says he didn't want to invade their privacy, but argued the affair of at least six years was proof of how much they trusted each other.

LONDON – Former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had an affair that lasted at least six years, the prosecution in the phone hacking trial here said Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis told the 12-person jury that he was highlighting the affair of the two former employees of Rupert Murdoch's News International (now News UK) that started in the late 1990s not to invade their privacy or make a "moral judgment," but to prove that the two key players trusted each other deeply, according to the BBC. "What Mr. Coulson knew, Ms. Brooks knew too," he argued.

Edis told the jury that police found out about the affair via a letter saved on a computer owned by Brooks, who used to be the editor of the now-shuttered tabloid, with Coulson serving as her deputy, before she moved on to The Sun. Brooks, who was considered a Murdoch confidante, wrote it in February 2004 when Coulson was trying to end the affair, according to the prosecution.

"The fact is you are my very best friend, I tell you everything, I confide in you, I seek your advice, I love you, care about you, worry about you, we laugh and cry together," Brooks wrote. "In fact, without our relationship in my life, I am not sure I will cope."

The BBC quoted Edis as saying about the letter: "Whether it was ever sent or received by him, we do not know, because the evidence is the document on the computer."

Brooks married actor Ross Kemp in 2002, according to the BBC. After a separation in 2006, they were divorced in 2009. She later married Charlie Brooks, who is one of the six other defendants in the trial. Coulson has been married since 2000.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai