Hacking Trial: Rebekah Brooks Found Not Guilty on One of Five Charges

Rebekah Brooks

Just before the former Rupert Murdoch confidante took the stand to start her defense, the judge directed jurors to acquit her of a bribery charge related to a Prince William photo.

LONDON -- The judge in the phone-hacking trial here directed the jury on Thursday to find Rebekah Brooks, a former editor at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., "not guilty" on one of five charges.

The charge was that she allegedly authorized a payment to a public official, which would have made her part of a conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office. The alleged payment was for a picture of Prince William dressed up as a Bond girl in a bikini at a costume party that was obtained by Murdoch's U.K. tabloid The Sun.

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Just before Brooks opened her defense by taking the stand for the first time in the trial, the judge instructed the jury on the charge, saying she had "no case to answer" on that specific count. He explained that his decision was as "a matter of law" and that they didn't need to know full details.

A representative for the jury then stood up and formally entered the not guilty verdict on that count.

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Brooks still faces four other charges, including charges of a phone-hacking conspiracy, encouraging misconduct by public officials and obstruction of justice.

Brooks and her defense team then started their defense after three and a half months of arguments by the prosecution.