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Rebekah Brooks Cleared of All Charges at Phone-Hacking Trial

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson faces jail term

LONDON — Former News Corp. exec Rebekah Brooks has been cleared of all charges at the trial relating to phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper, where she was editor.

After editing the News of the World, Brooks rose to become chief executive of News Intl., News Corp.’s U.K.-based newspaper publishing arm. Murdoch described her as his “top priority” when the hacking scandal broke in 2011, and he shuttered the News of the World.

Andy Coulson, former communications chief for U.K. prime minister David Cameron, was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones during his time as editor at the newspaper.

Coulson had revealed during the trial that he had listened to the voicemail of David Blunkett, the government minister in charge of the U.K. police. This contradicted Coulson’s earlier claims that he had no knowledge that phones were being hacked.

Political observers claim that Coulson’s conviction will raise questions about Cameron’s judgment. In an interview with the BBC Tuesday, Cameron apologized for the appointment of Coulson as his spin doctor.

In a statement, News U.K., which replaced News Intl. following the restructuring at News Corp., said: “We said long ago, and repeat today, that wrongdoing occurred, and we apologized for it. We have been paying compensation to those affected and have cooperated with investigations.

“We made changes in the way we do business to help ensure wrongdoing like this does not occur again.”

Brooks’ husband, racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, her secretary Cheryl Carter and Mark Hanna — head of security at News Intl. — were all cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Former News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also found not guilty on phone-hacking charges.

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