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Phone hacking: Brooks charged

Six accused of concealing evidence; former Murdoch aide slams ‘unjust decision’

Written by Reuters | London | Published: May 16, 2012 12:05:02 am

Rebekah Brooks,a close confidante of Rupert Murdoch,was charged on Tuesday with interfering with a police investigation into a phone hacking scandal that has rocked the tycoon’s empire.

Brooks,43,was charged with conspiring to remove boxes of archive records from Murdoch’s London headquarters,concealing material from detectives and hiding documents,computers and other electronic equipment from the police. If found guilty she could face a prison sentence.

The news is embarrassing for British Prime Minister David Cameron,who was close friends with Brooks and sent her text messages of support when the alleged offences took place.

The charges relate to those frenzied days last July,when Murdoch shut the 168-year-old News of the World and Brooks was first arrested.

Police said Brooks would face three charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. “I have concluded … there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction,” said Alison Levitt,Principal Legal Advisor to Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions.

Also charged were Brooks’s racehorse trainer husband Charlie Brooks,her secretary and three other staff including her driver and security officials from News International,the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s News Corp media empire.

They will all appear in court in London on June 13.

“We deplore this weak and unjust decision,” Rebekah and Charlie Brooks said in a statement. She called the move to charge her a waste of public money and “an expensive sideshow”.

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