U.K. phone hacking: Jury weighs verdicts on Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson
Trial revealed hacking victims included Queen Elizabeth's grandsons William and Harry
A jury retired on Wednesday to consider whether two ex-Rupert Murdoch editors, one the media mogul's protege and the other a former close aide to the British Prime Minister, were guilty over phone-hacking offences and illegal payments to officials.
After more than seven months of listening to graphic details about the "dark arts" of British tabloid journalism, the eight women and three men at London's Old Bailey court will have to decide whether Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson were complicit in illegal activities with their staff.
Brooks and Coulson are both ex-editors of the News of the World Sunday tabloid, a 168-year-old paper which Murdoch shut down three years ago when it was acknowledged staff working for it had hacked into voicemails, including those on the mobile phone of a murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.
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The trial has revealed hacking victims included Queen Elizabeth's grandsons William and Harry, and William's wife Kate.
Brooks, who later also edited sister title the Sun — Britain's top-selling daily paper — went on to become chief executive of News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch's News Corp.
Both deny wrongdoing
Meanwhile, Coulson became media chief for David Cameron and stayed with him when he became Prime Minister in 2010, quitting the following year as the scandal that gripped not only Murdoch's empire but the entire British establishment began to unfold.
They both deny any wrongdoing.
Public interest in the case was stoked by the revelation that Coulson and Brooks, whose papers had regularly exposed the affairs of the rich and famous, had themselves been involved an on/off affair running over a nine-year period.
"You are under no pressure of time and you must take all the time that you need to reach your verdicts," judge John Saunders told the jury.
He has previously urged them not to be "dazzled" by the high-profile defendants and to ignore the vitriol directed at Brooks and Coulson in the past.