Rupert Murdoch's protege Rebekah Brooks will be charged with conspiracy over alleged illegal payments to a Ministry of Defence employee, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said Tuesday.
In a separate case, Andy Coulson, another former Murdoch editor who went on to work for Prime Minister David Cameron, faces charges of conspiring to make illegal payments to officials for information relating to the royal family, the CPS said.
British prosecutors said Tuesday they would charge Rebekah Brooks with trying to obstruct a police investigation into phone hacking at newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Brooks, a former editor of the News of the World, is accused of plotting to remove boxes of documents from News International offices and hide computers and documents from police.
Her husband, personal assistant and driver will also be charged, along with one of her security guards and the head of security for News International, the News Corp. subsidiary that publishes Murdoch's British newspapers.
Brooks faces three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Her husband Charles and the other suspects face two counts each of the same charge.
A spokesman for Brooks said she and her husband "deplore this weak and unjust decision," and accused prosecutors of "unprecedented posturing." Spokesman David Wilson said there would be a fuller statement later.
Brooks and the others named Tuesday are the first people to be charged in connection with the British police investigation into phone hacking and police bribery, which has been going on for more than a year.
A former Rupert Murdoch newspaper editor who later became a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron testified Thursday at a government-backed probe into the British press.
Andy Coulson was quizzed over his leadership of the paper and its support for politicians, as questioning at the Leveson Inquiry hearing started.
The inquiry was set up in response to accusations of widespread phone hacking by journalists working for the News of the World, which was edited by Coulson from 2003 until his resignation in 2007.
Critics have questioned Cameron's judgment in hiring Coulson after he quit the paper.
Coulson said discussion of the jailing of two News of the World employees over phone hacking in 2007 did come up in discussions with senior party members before he was offered the job.
He told the inquiry he had told them and Cameron what he has said repeatedly - that he knew nothing about the practice of hacking under his leadership of the paper.
Global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit person" to run a major international company, British lawmakers investigating phone hacking at his tabloid News of the World reported Tuesday.
The ruling could prompt British regulators to force him to sell his controlling stake in British Sky Broadcasting, a significant part of his media empire.
The damning report accused Murdoch and his son James of showing "willful blindness" to phone hacking at News of the World, and said the newspaper "deliberately tried to thwart the police investigation" into the illegal activity.
The paper's publisher, News Corp. subsidiary News International, "wished to buy silence in this affair and pay to make the problem go away," the Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee found.
Global media baron Rupert Murdoch admitted Thursday that there had been a "cover-up" of phone-hacking at his News of the World tabloid, and placed the blame on people at the newspaper itself, without naming them "because they may still face criminal charges."
[Updated at 8 a.m. ET Thursday] Media magnate Rupert Murdoch admitted that there had been a "cover-up" of phone hacking at his flagship British tabloid newspaper and apologized Thursday for not paying more attention to a scandal that has convulsed his media empire and rocked the British political establishment.
He testified Wednesday and Thursday at the Leveson Inquiry, an independent British inquiry prompted by illegal eavesdropping by his newspaper. His son, James Murdoch, a top executive in his father's News Corp. company, testified Tuesday.
The scandal has led to dozens of arrests on suspicion of criminal activity and forced News Corp. to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation to the victims of phone hacking.
The following is a timeline of the scandal:
- News of the World prints a story about Britain's Prince William injuring his knee, prompting royal officials to complain to police about probable voice mail hacking.
- News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are convicted of conspiracy to hack into phone voice mails of royals and are jailed. Andy Coulson, the paper's editor, claims to be unaware of hacking but still resigns.
- Goodman and Mulcaire sue the tabloid for wrongful dismissal. Goodman receives £80,000 (currently $129,190), and Mulcaire receives an undisclosed amount.
- Also in July, Coulson is hired as director of communications for Conservative party leader David Cameron, who becomes prime minister in May 2010.
Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the British tabloid News of the World and a close confidante of its owner Rupert Murdoch, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a phone-hacking investigation, the British Press Association reported.
London's Metropolitan Police confirmed that six people were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but refused to name them.
Brooks' spokesman David Wilson and the publisher of the defunct News of the World both declined to comment.
Brooks was arrested in July over phone hacking and police bribery. She was released on bail after a day of questioning.
Tuesday's reported arrest could mean that she will face additional charges in an ever-widening scandal that has spawned three police investigations, two parliamentary committee probes and an independent inquiry.
London's Metropolitan Police lent a retired horse to Rebekah Brooks when she was an executive at Rupert Murdoch's News International, her spokesman and the police said Tuesday.
The revelation was met with incredulity and scorn amid investigations into the potentially corrupt relationship between the police and the press in Britain.
The news immediately prompted the creation of a Twitter account, RebekahsHorse, that began churning out puns including: "My PR has set me up a brief twitter question and answer session later this afternoon. Hope I don't stirrup any trouble."
The BBC unintentionally added to the gag by putting a reporter named Fiona Trott on the story, her colleague Chris Mason tweeted.
But along with the guffaws, the news ramped up pressure even further on Murdoch's empire as it is battered by investigations into police bribery, phone hacking and e-mail hacking.
Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has settled with seven people who accused his newspapers of phone hacking, its parent company News International announced Tuesday.
The claimants included James Hewitt, a former lover of Diana, Princess of Wales.
News International, publisher of the now-defunct News of the World newspaper in Great Britain, has agreed to pay 2 million British pounds - the equivalent of $3.2 million - to the family of British teen Milly Dowler, who disappeared in 2002 and was later found dead.
Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of chief executive of News Corporation, the parent company of News International, personally apologized to Dowler's family in July amid allegations that News of the World journalists secretly listened to the girl's voicemail after she disappeared.
Dowler, 13, disappeared in 2002 and was later found dead.
"As the founder of the company, I was appalled to find out what happened," Murdoch said after speaking with the family in July.
As part of the settlement, announced Friday by News International and the Dowler family, Murdoch will pay 1 million British pounds - about $1.6 million - to charities chosen by the Dowler family. Those charities "represent causes close to Milly and those that provide support to other victims of crime," a statement from News International and Dowler family sai
Revelations surfaced in July that journalists working for the News of the World at the time of her disappearance had eavesdropped on Dowler's phone, deleting some of her messages to make room for more. The deletion of messages gave the family hope she was still alive when she was already dead.
Public and political outrage in Britain was immediate and intense, and less than a week after the reports surfaced, News International chief executive James Murdoch ordered the closing of News of the World, a best-selling Sunday paper. James Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch.
Previously, News of the World apologized for hacking into the voice mails of celebrities and politicians, paying compensation to actress Sienna Miller and offering money to others. An out-of-court settlement of 700,000 pounds (U.S. $1.2 million) was paid to English soccer executive Gordon Taylor for "illegal voicemail interception."
As the UK parliament's inquiry into News of the World phone-hacking scandal continues, there's a lot of back-and-forth going on with regards to who knew what was happening - and when.
Immediately after the major players testified in July, it appeared that a bit of a calm before the storm was on the horizon. Things went silent for a bit. But that's changed now as new allegations, arrests and concerns have brought about new questions and evidence in the case.
To start with, a former lawyer for News of the World testified that News Corp. executive James Murdoch must have known that illegal phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper was not confined to the single journalist who was imprisoned for it. Tom Crone, who was legal manager of the paper, said Murdoch would only have given Crone authority to settle a lawsuit against News of the World if he had understood that there had been more illegal eavesdropping.
That kind of testimony and other new pieces of evidence alleging widespread knowledge about phone-hacking practices have led to serious questions about testimony given to the UK parliament in July.
And it appears the parliament is acting on those concerns by recalling Former senior News Corp. executive Les Hinton to testify, a spokesman for the panel said Tuesday.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is also "highly likely" to recall News International chief executive James Murdoch - who gave evidence before the parliamentary committee in July alongside his father Rupert - to face fresh questions from lawmakers, the spokesman said.
Since the scandal has been broken open more than a dozen people have been arrested. All are currently free on bail. Former News of the World Editor Rebekah Brooks was arrested, becoming the highest-profile figure to be held over the scandal. Dow Jones' chief executive Les Hinton stepped down after working with News Corp. for 52 years.
The scandal has also forced the country's top police officer to resign, closed its best-selling newspaper, shuttered parts of the Murdoch empire and called Prime Minister David Cameron's judgment into question. Sean Hoare, a former News of the World employee, and one of the first journalists to go on the record and allege phone hacking at News of the World was found dead.
It's a lot to wrap your head around - and there are a lot of people and institutions greatly impacted by the scandal. So we're going to break it down and take a look at the key players under fire, the tentacles of Rupert Murdoch's operations, who's implicated, what the scandal could mean for all of them and where the whole scandal stands right now.
[Updated at 7:49 a.m. ET] Former senior News Corp. executive Les Hinton is being recalled to testify before a parliamentary committee over a phone-hacking scandal involving journalists at the now defunct News of the World newspaper, a spokesman for the panel said Tuesday.
A News Corp. spokesman told CNN James Murdoch was "happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have."
Hinton - one of Rupert Murdoch's longest-standing employees - resigned as head of News Corp.'s Dow Jones unit and publisher of The Wall Street Journal in July.
He was formerly chief executive of News International, the British arm of News Corp. which published News of the World.
News Corp. executive James Murdoch must have known that illegal phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper was not confined to the single journalist who was imprisoned for it, a former lawyer for the newspaper testified Tuesday.
Tom Crone, who was legal manager of the paper, said Murdoch would only have given Crone authority to settle a lawsuit against News of the World if he had understood that there had been more illegal eavesdropping.
Crone was one of four former executives grilled by British lawmakers as they try to determine whether Murdoch misled them about the scale of illegal eavesdropping at News of the World.
The British man who shoved a pie into media mogul Rupert Murdoch's face has apparently been blogging from prison.
Jonathan May-Bowles, who is serving a six-week sentence at Wandsworth Prison in London, appears to have not let a little confinement prevent him from updating his blog "Anarch*ish*."
Using his nickname, "Jonnie Marbles," he seems to have posted twice recently. Written in a lively voice, the blog describes prison life.
The Village Voice highlighted a passage in which the poster says he's been graciously received by fellow inmates.
" 'Oi, Pie man!' shouted one of my fellow lags. A few cons come over to alternately shake my hand and take the piss. We have some of what I believe is known colloquially as 'banter', something I have not enjoyed since university. It is not like riding a bike."
At one point, Jonnie Marbles posts an apology to "Minimarbles."
"Minimarbles, if you are reading this, whenever that is, I am deeply sorry from the depths of my heart. I love you and miss you. Not seeing you is my real punishment here; the only one I care about, anyway."
May-Bowles smashed a pie in Murdoch's face during the mogul's testimony before Parliament in July about accusations of phone hacking at his British tabloid, News of the World. Murdoch's wife, Wendi, jumped up and slapped May-Bowles to help her husband.
News of the World and its staffers are accused of hacking dozens of phones, including one of a murdered girl and those of the girl's family. The scandal prompted the newspaper's closure. The Murdoch media empire remains under fire as investigators continue to probe reports of other phone hacking.
Phone hacking was "widely discussed" at News of the World, the royal correspondent jailed and sacked for the practice wrote in 2007, documents released by a Parliament committee investigating the scandal revealed Tuesday.
The letter was among a string of documents released by Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is investigating the scandal. The committee is likely to call News Corp. executive James Murdoch to testify before them again as they try to determine whether he misled them last month about phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper, member of Parliament Tom Watson said Tuesday. Both James and his father Rupert Murdoch and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who previously edited News of the World, gave evidence to the committee last month.
James Murdoch ordered the closure of the News of the World, Britain's best-selling Sunday paper, in July in the face of allegations of illegal eavesdropping and police bribery by its employees. The scandal has led to the resignation of a number of senior police officers and executives at News International, the British arm of News Corp. which ran the newspaper.
The letter published Tuesday reveals that while fighting his dismissal from the paper, former royal correspondent Clive Goodman alleged that "other members of staff were carrying out the same illegal procedures."
He also wrote that "explicit reference" to phone hacking was "banned."
The copy of the letter published by lawmakers investigating the scandal blacks out the name of the person who banned it.
James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, who had testified before a British parliamentary committee regarding the UK phone hacking scandal, have been asked to clarify some of their testimony, a lawmaker said Friday.
John Whittingdale said that the parliamentary committee has written letters to Murdoch, Brooks, and others to request "more information" about their testimony. He made the statement at a news conference on another topic.
The request stems from claims by a former editor of the News of the World and the paper's former head of legal affairs, Colin Myler and Tom Crone, that Murdoch had been "mistaken" in his testimony regarding an important piece of evidence.
Myler and Crone also were sent letters from the committee, Whittingdale said. A former News International director of legal affairs who also alleged mistakes, Jon Chapman, was also to receive a letter.
A motion to have Murdoch and the others return to testify in person was voted down by the committee, Whittingdale said.
In the week since News International executives answered questions from Britain's Parliament on the UK phone hacking scandal, the frenzy has died down a bit, perhaps allowing Rupert Murdoch and his minions to direct the news rather than react to it.
Gone are the daily live blogs and Parliament has been in recess. In the past few days, stories about the troubles of Murdoch's News of the World have not been splashed across front pages as dominantly.
The much-needed time could be exactly what News Corp. needs ahead of some big meetings. And it gives us a chance to see where things stand and where they might be headed.
If you thought the outrage over the phone-hacking scandal was starting to die down, The Times of London, one of Rupert Murdoch's own papers, may have brought it straight back into the spotlight.
An editorial cartoon published Thursday morning in the paper with the title "Priorities" shows starving people in Somalia saying "We've had a bellyful of phone-hacking ... " It's causing quite a firestorm on Twitter. You can access the newspaper's site here, but you won't be able to get past the pay wall without a subscription. The paper has not yet returned calls for comment.
The Guardian's Deputy Editor Katharine Viner (@KathViner) tweeted a link to a photo of the cartoon this morning and asked what people thought of it.
And boy, did she get a response. From regular citizens in the U.S. and UK, to politicians, media specialists and PR folks, the responses are rolling in at a mile a minute.
The responses generally fall in one of two directions: utter disgust or the notion that while the cartoon makes a point, having it come from a Murdoch-owned newspaper makes it just straight ridiculous. For some, it's being seen as an attempt to try to get readers to move away from the story and focus on something else.
The cartoon does come a day after the questioning of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has also become a part of the phone-hacking story, during which several UK lawmakers argued that perhaps it was time to move on to more pressing issues.
Editor's Note: Watch live coverage of Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks answering questions before the British Parliament in the phone-hacking scandal on CNN.com/Live, the CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and selected Nokia handsets internationally.
[Updated at 6:16 p.m. GMT, 2:16 p.m. ET] Bit of a twist at the end – and an intriguing cliffhanger request from Brooks.
At the end of her session, she asked that, when she is freed from legal constraints – remember, she has been arrested and bailed – she be invited back again to be questioned by the committee. Committee members said they were fine with that.
And with that, Brooks left the hearing.
Hacking scandal: Media baron Rupert Murdoch, his son James and former News of the World CEO Rebekah Brooks are to be quizzed today by Parliament on the phone-hacking scandal and other allegations facing News International. Sir Paul Stephenson, who has resigned as chief of the London Metropolitan Police, testifies first before the Home Affairs Select Committee, followed by Scotland Yard communications director Dick Federico and John Yates, the assistant police commissioner who quit Monday.
Follow CNN's live blog of the testimony
This blog – This Just In – will no longer be updated. Looking for the freshest news from CNN? Go to our ever-popular CNN.com homepage on your desktop or your mobile device, and join the party at @cnnbrk, the world's most-followed account for news.