Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper arm, is to be charged over “allegations that she tried to conceal evidence from detectives investigating phone hacking and alleged bribes to public officials”, the Crown Prosecution Service announced Tuesday.
Brooks, who was editor of the News Of The World (NOTW) when dozens of voicemails — including those of murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler — were hacked to provide stories for the tabloid, faces three separate allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice — an offense that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
In addition to Rebekah, her husband, Charles, 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.
The LA Times writes the charges are the first since police re-launched an investigation into alleged illegal practices at News Corp’s British newspapers, following accusations the extent of wrongdoing had been covered up.
“I have concluded … there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction,” Alison Levitt, principal legal adviser to the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service, said.
“All these matters relate to the ongoing police investigation into allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the News of the World and The Sun newspapers.”
A spokesman for Brooks said she and her husband “deplore this weak and unjust decision,” and accused prosecutors of “unprecedented posturing.”
The spokesman added that a full statement from Brooks would be issued later in the day.
Besides Rebekah Brooks and her husband, CNN reports that about 40 people have been arrested due to probes into the illegal news gathering and bribery scandals.