Rebekah Brooks, former chief of News International, formally denied charges in the British phone hacking scandal.
Brooks was once considered to be one of the most powerful people in Britain. However, this all changed after she allegedly intercepted voicemails from celebrities, royalty, and people who were making the news.
According to reports, journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World allegedly hacked into numerous cellphones over the span of a decade. Some of the victims included Hugh Grant and a 13-year-old murder victim.
Rebekah Brooks, who was the head of Murdoch’s newspaper operation, is facing charges of intercepting voicemail messages, conspiracy to commit misconduct involving public officials, and obstructing a police investigation by withholding evidence. She denied all of the charges against her in London’s Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday.
Although News International originally said that the phone hacking was the work of one journalist, these claims soon started to come apart after closer inspection. Prime Minister David Cameron launched investigation into the matter, which unearthed a network of unethical behavior.
In addition to Rebekah Brooks, around 30 people were also charged with phone hacking. Journalists and editors from both News of the World and The Sun were included in the round-up.
The investigation also uncovered that prison officials, former military personnel, and police often sold information to the press. The scandal wasn’t limited to Murdoch’s empire; other news organizations in Britain were also accused of using underhanded practices to obtain information about people in the public eye.
News of the World would ultimately close its doors in 2011 as a direct result of the phone hacking scandal. Settlements and fees accrued during the investigation cost the newspaper around $56 million.
Brooks appeared at the pre-trial on Wednesday with six other individuals, all of whom have denied the charges against them. The defendants are currently free on bail.
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