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Ex-Murdoch exec Brooks' hacking defence

Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 02:02

Feb. 20 - Former head of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper empire, Rebekah Brooks, begins her defence at London's hacking trial. As Joanna Partridge reports she denies she was complicit in widespread phone-hacking at the now defunct News of the World tabloid.

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From tabloid editor to tabloid fodder. Rebekah Brooks, former boss of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, arrives at court, ready to take the stand for the first time in the so-called "phone hacking" trial. She and her husband Charlie are accused with five other former Murdoch employees. She denies being complicit in widespread illegal interception of voicemail messages on mobile phones by journalists at the News of the World and also denies all the other charges On Wednesday, the court was told former British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered to act as her secret adviser during the scandal. Brooks wasn't just a friend of several British leaders, she was also so close to Murdoch she was called his fifth daughter. Beginning her defence, she described her fast rise through the newspaper ranks, to first become Editor of News of the World then overal boss of Murdoch's British newspaper empire. Public anger over phone hacking led Murdoch to shut the News of the World in 2011. Victims included members of the royal family, and Hollywood stars such as Jude Law. He and his former girlfriend Sienna Miller have already given evidence. Over the past 14 weeks the jury has also seen CCTV footage, allegedly showing Charlie Brooks and security staff trying to hide computers and documents from the police, the day before she was arrested. He too denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. There have been some jaw-dropping revelations during the case. The most surprising - that Brooks had an affair with Andy Coulson, another former News of the World editor, who then went on work as Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief until 2011. He is also on trial. Brooks was acquitted of one charge on Thursday - authorising a illegal payment for a picture of Prince William in a bikini. The start of her defence only marks the halfway point in the trial, which is due to last until mid-May.

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Ex-Murdoch exec Brooks' hacking defence

Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 02:02