Rebekah Brooks 'did not know phone hacking was illegal'
Former News of the World editor says she did not know about Milly Dowler phone hacking until 2011
REBEKAH BROOKS has claimed that she did not know phone hacking was illegal when she was editor of the News of the World.
She told the hacking trial at the Old Bailey today that she "didn't think anybody, me included, knew it was illegal". When asked if she had ever been approached by a journalist seeking to access voicemails for a story during her time as editor of the newspaper, Brooks replied: "No."
The 45-year-old said: "No journalist ever came to me and said we're working on so and so a story but we need to access their voicemail and we need to ask for my sanction to do it.
"Even though I didn't know it was illegal, I absolutely felt it was in the category of a serious breach of privacy."
When asked by her barrister, Jonathan Laidlaw, if she would have sanctioned phone hacking if there had been a strong public interest, she said she "may have done" but that the question was "hypothetical, because no-one ever asked me".
Brooks also spoke of her "shock" and "horror" at discovering that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked and insisted she knew nothing about it until 4 July 2011. The newspaper was closed later that month in the wake of the revelations.
The court heard Milly's mobile phone was hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire between 10 and 12 April 2002, when Brooks was on holiday in Dubai with her then husband, Ross Kemp, reports the BBC.
Brooks claimed she had not even heard of Mulcaire before he was arrested. He was jailed in 2007, along with the News of the World's then-royal editor, Clive Goodman, after admitting to intercepting voicemails. She said the newspaper used a "lot" of investigators during the late 1990s and early 2000s, adding that it was "pretty normal" in Fleet Street.
Brooks denies the four charges against her, which include conspiring to hack phones, conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, and conspiring to cover up evidence to pervert the course of justice. The trial continues.
Rebekah Brooks 'unaware' of hacker Mulcaire's NotW deal
FORMER News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks has claimed she knew nothing about annual payments made to phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire.
The private investigator had an annual contract of £92,000 with the now-defunct News International newspaper, but Brooks said it was an "arrangement" between Mulcaire and the senior journalist Greg Miskiw about which she knew nothing.
Brooks was asked: "Did you know anything about that contract?" She responded: "No, not at the time."
Brooks said that she had authorised other payments, including a £1m payment to David Beckham to run excerpts from his autobiography, but said that she had never even heard of Mulcaire during her time as editor, the BBC reports.
Mulcaire was jailed for six months in 2007 for intercepting voicemail messages on royal aides' phones, including some left by Prince William.
As she gave evidence in the trial for the first time, Brooks was also questioned about her personal life. She denied the prosecution's charge that she had conducted a six-year affair with former Sun editor Andy Coulson, but admitted there had been "periods of physical intimacy" over a number of years.
The prosecution had alleged the affair to demonstrate the depth of trust between Coulson and Brooks.
"What Mr Coulson knew, Mrs Brooks knew too. What Mrs Brooks knew, Mr Coulson knew too," prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told jurors in his opening statement last October.
Brooks denied the affair but conceded that she and Coulson were "close" in 1998 and became so again between 2003 and 2005, and again in 2006.
Brooks has been cleared of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, but still faces four other charges, all of which she denies. The trial continues
Rebekah Brooks not guilty of Prince William bikini charge
THE former News of the World and Sun editor, Rebekah Brooks, has been formally acquitted of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
The prosecution claimed that Brooks, as editor of The Sun, had authorised a reporter to pay a military source £4,000 for a picture of Prince William in a bikini at James Bond-themed party.
The photograph was taken at a party in April 2006 during the Prince's time at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis suggested Brooks must have known the photograph came from a public official, but the judge, Mr Justice Saunders, said there had been "considerable uncertainty" as to where it had come from. Saunders said there was "no case to answer" and directed the jury to acquit her of the charge.
He told the jury at the Old Bailey: "Whether or not there is a case to answer is for me to decide on a matter of law. It is for you to bring in a verdict of not guilty on that count now."
According to the Daily Telegraph, Brooks stood and smiled as the jury foreman recorded a not guilty verdict.
The development came as Brooks prepared to give evidence for the first time in the trial, which began in October. The 45-year-old still faces two charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, one of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and one of conspiracy to hack voicemail messages – all of which she denies.
Rebekah Brooks took secret advice from Tony Blair
TONY BLAIR offered advice to Rebekah Brooks at the height of the phone hacking scandal, telling her to "tough up" and take some sleeping pills, according to evidence given at the Old Bailey.
The revelation was contained in an email sent from Brooks to James Murdoch, the then executive chairman of News International, on 11 July 2011, the day after News of the World's final issue was published and six days before she was arrested.
In the message, Brooks said she had "an hour on the phone to Tony Blair" and then outlined the points he made.
Blair allegedly offered to become an "unofficial adviser" to Brooks and the Murdochs on a "between us" basis, and suggested a "Hutton style" inquiry, referencing Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death of David Kelly.
Blair apparently recommended that Ken MacDonald, a barrister and former director of public prosecutions, sit on the independent panel to investigate phone hacking at the News of the World.
"Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over," Brooks summarised in the email to James Murdoch.
Another piece of advice was allegedly: "Keep strong and definitely sleeping pills."
In another email, Brooks discusses launching the Sun on Sunday on 10 July 2011, the day News of the World closed.
Jury members were shown the email exchanges between Brooks and James Murdoch as the prosecution wrapped up its case today, reports The Guardian.
Brooks, who ran News International until July 2011 when the News of the World closed and had previously edited both the Sunday tabloid and The Sun, is due to begin her defence tomorrow.
She denies all five charges against her, including conspiracy to illegally intercept voicemail messages, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by authorising illegal payments to public officials, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The long-running trial started on 28 October and is expected to last another three months.
Rebekah Brooks phone hacking trial: five key claims
THE TRIAL of former News of the World journalists accused of a conspiracy to hack mobile phones is well under way at the Old Bailey. Two of the newspaper's former editors, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, and six others, face a range of charges, including committing misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.
Here are five key claims from the first month of the trial:
Brooks 'ordered deletion of millions of emails'
According to the prosecution, Brooks ordered the deletion of millions of News International emails. The company's original plan was to delete everything before December 2007 to help servers that were struggling to deal with the weight of stored traffic. But in August 2010 Brooks suggested a new cut-off date. She emailed the IT department to say that "everyone needs to know that anything before January 2010 will not be kept". When that date of January 2010 was queried, she replied: "Yes. January 2010. Clean sweep, Thanks." Brooks and her personal assistant Cheryl Carter are also accused of removing seven archived boxes of notebooks and "spiriting" them away. They deny the claims.
Huge sums paid to phone hacker
Payments from the News of the World to private investigator Glenn Mulcaire have come under much scrutiny during the trial. Mulcaire was jailed for phone hacking in 2007, along with Clive Goodman, the newspaper's royal editor. News International has always claimed the two men acted alone, but the prosecution is seeking to prove that the newspaper's editors knew what was going on. The jury has heard how Mulcaire had an "exceptional" arrangement with the News of the World, allowing him to earn more than £400,000 over six years. One 2005 email, from newsdesk editor Ian Edmondson to managing editor Stuart Kuttner, with Coulson copied in, insists payments to the "investigation man" must stop, but Mulcaire continued to be paid. Brooks is not shown to have authorised a single payment to Mulcaire during her editorship of the newspaper, according to her defence.
Milly Dowler story altered following text exchange
On 13 April 2002, transcripts of hacked voicemails from Milly Dowler's mobile appeared in the first edition of News of the World but were removed when the second edition went to print hours later. The prosecution has pointed out that the references to her voicemail disappeared after Brooks sent Coulson a text message from Dubai, where she was on holiday. Coulson texted Brooks back four minutes later but the contents of the messages is not known. Mulcaire has admitted accessing voicemails on the 13-year-old's mobile phone after she disappeared in 2002, but Coulson and Brooks deny that they knew how the information was found. It has also been alleged that Coulson and Brooks had a six-year affair between 1998 and 2004 - evidence that the pair "trusted each other completely", the prosecution claimed.
Brooks 'boasted' about phone hacking knowledge
Brooks allegedly told the ex-wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie how easy it was to hack a mobile phone. Eimear Cook told the court Brooks had made the admission during an intimate lunch meeting, during which Brooks had also mentioned press coverage of when she assaulted her husband at the time, Ross Kemp. Cook's evidence was called into question by the defence, which pointed out that the assault had not taken place until six weeks after the lunch meeting. Dom Loehnis, a close friend of David Cameron, also told the court that Brooks had told him how to hack mobile phones during a Chequers birthday party for the Prime Minister in October 2010. Brooks's defence said that this was not an admission that she had been involved in phone hacking.
Royal editor 'warned executive of jail risk'
Clive Goodman warned his managing editor, Kuttner, that if payments to his confidential sources were traced, they and the editor would be jailed, the phone hacking trial heard last week. In an email to Kuttner in July 2005, Goodman wrote: "Morning, Stuart. Understand that, as you know, there are only three people I ever pay in cash. Two are in uniform and we - them, you, me, the editor - would all end up in jail if anyone traced their payments." He added that "thanks to the way we pay them", they are "untraceable".
The trial continues. ·