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Jury being chosen in UK phone hacking case

October 29, 2013
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Jury selection continued Tuesday in the long-awaited phone hacking trial of former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.

Brooks, Coulson and six others face charges stemming from the revelation that the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid eavesdropped on the phone voicemails of celebrities, politicians, crime victims and others in its search for scoops.

Murdoch shut down the newspaper in 2011 when the scandal erupted, and dozens of his staff have since been arrested.

The trial at London's Central Criminal Court began Monday with the process of winnowing down a pool of about 80 potential jurors to a panel of 12. They will hear a long and complex case — expected to last six months — involving eight defendants and dozens of lawyers.

Once a jury has been sworn in, prosecution lawyer Andrew Edis will begin his case, outlining in detail the allegations of criminal activity by the former media high-flyers.

Brooks, 45, edited both the News of the World and its sister paper, The Sun, and was chief executive of Murdoch's British newspaper division. Coulson, 45, also edited the News of the World before becoming communications chief to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Both face charges of phone hacking and conspiring to bribe officials. Brooks also is charged with obstructing justice.

Brooks' husband, Charles Brooks, a racehorse trainer, faces charges in the case, along with five former employees of Murdoch's British company, News International.

This is the first major criminal trial spawned by the 2011 revelation that the News of the World had hacked the mobile phone voicemails of kidnapped 13-year-old Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered.

The scandal led Murdoch to shut the 168-year-old newspaper and spurred a judge-led media-ethics inquiry and wide-ranging criminal investigations into hacking, bribery and other illegal behavior.

Dozens of journalists and officials have been arrested, and Britain's free-wheeling press is under intense political pressure to submit to tougher regulation.



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