| LONDON, March 31
LONDON, March 31 Charlie Brooks, the husband of
Rupert Murdoch's former British newspaper chief, told a London
court on Monday he hid his porn collection from police
investigating phone-hacking because he feared leaks to the press
which would embarrass his wife.
Brooks' wife Rebekah is on trial at London's Old Bailey
accused of conspiracy to hack phones and authorising illegal
payments to public officials. They are both accused of
attempting to pervert the course of justice by hindering the
Five others are also on trial over alleged criminal activity
centred on Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid. They
all deny the charges.
Rebekah Brooks was arrested in July 2011 at the height of a
phone-hacking scandal that rocked Murdoch's News Corp.
empire and shook Britain's political establishment.
On the day of her arrest, her husband Charlie, a former
racehorse trainer, was caught on close circuit television
footage hiding a brown bag and a computer behind bins in the car
park of their flat in central London.
The jury has already heard that the bag contained DVDs of
lesbian porn films.
Brooks, 51, said the DVDs were of "an embarrassing nature"
and the computer "also had some smut on it" as well as items
linked to a book he was writing.
"I imagined 20 policemen coming in and everything down and
looking under every nook and cranny," he said, saying he had
acted "incredibly stupidly and rashly".
He told the court he had what he described as a "Jacqui
Smith" moment, a reference to a former Labour Home Secretary
(interior minister). Smith suffered embarrassment when it was
revealed she had claimed parliamentary expenses for two adult
movies her husband had watched at their home.
"I didn't want to embarrass my wife in the same way," Brooks
said. "My instinctive reaction was that the police could easily
leak this sort of thing to the press."
Brooks also told the court that before the arrest he asked
the head of security at News International, Murdoch's British
newspaper arm which his wife had run, to look after a brown
briefcase which contained his computer and an iPad he needed to
"function" on a daily basis.
Prosecutors allege the couple had deliberately hidden
evidence from them, fully aware that their properties were going
to be searched.
However, Charlie Brooks said police had been able to take
away a computer in the flat which belonged to his wife and other
machines of his.
Such was the couple's concern that no details of her arrest
should be leaked, he said they did not even tell their security
team at which police station she was been questioned.
The trial continues.
(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)