One of Rupert Murdoch’s most trusted lieutenants and five people close to her were charged with conspiring to hide evidence of phone hacking, bringing the scandal that has raged across Britain’s media and political elite uncomfortably close to Prime Minister David Cameron.
The charges Tuesday against former U.K. tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie and four aides are the first prosecutions since police reopened inquiries 18 months ago into wrongdoing by the country’s scandal-hungry press.
Brooks, 43, faces three separate allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice — an offense that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
For years, Brooks was the star in Murdoch’s media empire, the top editor of two of his tabloids, a friend of his daughter Elisabeth and a close friend of Cameron, who has known her husband Charlie Brooks since they both went to an elite high school. Cameron is a neighbor, a friend and an occasional horse-riding companion of the couple.
The prospect that courts will hear potentially explosive accusations against Brooks and her husband could rock both Murdoch’s global media empire and Cameron’s political career.
To critics, however, Brooks was “The Witch of Wapping” — a ruthless figure at the heart of a media company in that London neighborhood that showed little remorse over its frequently intrusive reporting on celebrities and ordinary people in thrust into the public glare.
READ FULL STORY