U.K. to charge Coulson, Brooks over phone hacking
Former News of the World executives among latest named by police
British authorities are charging former David Cameron aide Andy Coulson, former Rupert Murdoch protege Rebekah Brooks, and six others for their roles in Britain's ever-widening tabloid phone hacking scandal, a senior prosecutor said Tuesday.
The Crown Prosecution Service's Alison Levitt told journalists that Coulson and Brooks, both former News of the World editors, were among those being charged over their roles in intercepting the communications of more than 600 people. Some of the suspects have individually been charged with eavesdropping on Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, soccer star Wayne Rooney, and former Beatle Paul McCartney.
Levitt said that, with reference to the suspects, "there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to one or more offences."
Coulson is an ex-News of the World editor who later found work as Cameron's communications chief. Brooks was the chief executive of Murdoch's London-based News International. Others being charged are senior tabloid journalists Stuart Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup and Ian Edmondson.
Coulson, Brooks, and Kuttner are accused of conspiring to break into the voicemail of 13-year-old Milly Dowler, a school girl whose 2002 disappearance transfixed the country. Milly was eventually found dead, and the revelation that the News of the World had hacked into her phone revolted the country.
The three have denied wrongdoing.
Miskiw and Weatherup are accused of intercepting the messages of actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost; Edmondson and Weatherup are accused of spying on Paul McCartney, his estranged wife Heather Mills, and politicians including former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Thurlbeck and Weatherup are alleged to have eavesdropped on Jolie and Pitt.
Also being charged is private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, whose extensive notes have been at the center of the scandal since it was first unearthed nearly five years ago.