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Phone Hacking Prosecutor: Brooks Was ‘Active in the Conspiracy’

Victims included Paul McCartney, Jude Law, Siena Miller

LONDON — The prosecutor, Andrew Edis, in the U.K. phone-hacking trial outlined his case Wednesday.

The eight defendants include Rebekah Brooks, who was editor of two of Rupert Murdoch’s U.K. tabloids, The Sun and The News of the World, and later was chief exec of News International, which controlled Murdoch’s U.K. newspaper empire, and Andy Coulson, who was editor of The News of the World, and later became director of communications for the U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Edis alleged that Brooks had been “active in the conspiracy” to hack phones when she was editor of The News of the World, and had approved the payment of “quite large sums” of money to public officials in exchange for information while she was editor of The Sun.

Edis said that when Murdoch announced that The News of the World would shutter in 2011, Brooks sought to hide evidence of wrongdoing. Edis claimed that Brooks and her personal assistant Cheryl Carter removed Brooks’ old notebooks.

“They were got out of the archive on the Friday before the last edition of the News of the World was closed. After that the building was sealed and became a crime scene,” he said.

The prosecutor said that the targets of the phone hacking had included Paul McCartney and his former wife Heather Mills, and thesps Jude Law and Siena Miller. A private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, carried out much of the hacking, and was paid about £100,000 ($161,000) a year to do so.

The court was told that three former News of the World journalists had pleaded guilty to phone hacking charges. These were former chief correspondent Neville Thurlbeck, former assistant news editor James Weatherup, and ex-news editor Greg Miskiw.

“There was phone hacking, and quite a lot of it,” Edis said. “Given they (Brooks and Coulson) were so senior, if they knew about it, well obviously they were allowing it to happen. They were in charge of the purse strings.”

Edis told jurors they should decide whether the management at The News of the World knew what was going on.

“What you must consider is whether these people were doing their jobs properly, in which case they must have known.

“Either they were doing their jobs properly or at least three of the newsdesk editors were running its operation, with Mulcaire doing a great deal of phone hacking, and the management knew nothing about it — in which case what were they doing? It was their job to know what was in the paper.”

All the defendants deny the charges against them.

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