Brooks, who was so close to the media mogul she was dubbed his
fifth daughter, will testify for the first time in the long-running
trial after the prosecution formally wraps up its case against her,
her husband and five other former Murdoch employees.
The case centers on widespread phone-hacking by journalists at the
News of the World Sunday tabloid, which Murdoch closed amid huge
public anger in July 2011, and other allegations of crimes by staff
on its sister daily paper The Sun.
Brooks, who ran News Corp.'s British newspaper arm News
International until July 2011 and had previously edited both papers,
denies conspiracy to illegally intercept voicemail messages on
mobile phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by
authorizing illegal payments to public officials, and conspiracy to
pervert the course of justice.
During testimony over 14 weeks, prosecutors have detailed evidence
of phone-hacking and other alleged crimes by journalists working for
Murdoch's British titles.
The jury has heard that three senior journalists who held news
editor roles at the tabloid had admitted phone-hacking offences,
while a private detective Glenn Mulcaire who worked for the paper
had pleaded guilty to carrying out hacks.
Victims included the wife of future heir-to-the-throne Prince
William, Kate Middleton, and his younger brother Harry. Brooks is
also said to have approved an illegal payment for a picture of
William wearing a bikini to a party.
Those to have taken the stand so far include actor Jude Law and his
former girlfriend actress Sienna Miller.
But the most startling disclosure was that Brooks had had an affair
with Andy Coulson, another former News of the World editor who went
on to work as Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief until 2011
and who is also on trial.
The prosecution's phone-hacking case against Brooks revolves around
the tapping of the mobile of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
News of the Dowler hack in the summer of 2011 caused a "media
firestorm" that prompted Murdoch to close the 168-year-old News of
the World, then Britain's biggest-selling paper.
Mulcaire has admitted he hacked Dowler's phone after the 13-year-old
went missing in March 2002, and the court has heard that a News of
the World senior executive told police the paper had recordings of
her voicemail messages. The tabloid then ran a story quoting them.
Brooks was on holiday at the time, but the prosecution has argued
she was in close contact with the paper, including with her
then-deputy and lover Coulson, and would have been complicit in what
[to top of second column]
The Dowler hacking allegation is particularly toxic for Brooks as
the public anger it generated ultimately led her to quit her job.
The jury were told threats were made to executives including Brooks
at the time, and they received hate mail with phrases such as
"rotting in hell would be too good a punishment" and "the universal
law of karma will exact its revenge".
As well as alleging Brooks was involved in phone-hacking,
prosecutors have said she had sanctioned illegal payments to public
officials, including one for nearly 40,000 pounds ($64,000) to a
senior Ministry of Defense official.
The court was also told Brooks and her husband tried to cover up her
alleged crimes by hiding computers and other material from
detectives before their London apartment was searched.
However, the bag these items were hidden in, along with other
personal stuff, including pornographic DVDs, was discovered before
they could retrieve it.
Brooks is also accused of arranging for her personal assistant
Cheryl Carter to withdraw seven boxes containing her notebooks from
News International's archives days before she resigned. These boxes
have never been found, while several of her mobile phones and iPads
have also never been recovered.
Carter, Charlie Brooks and News International's former head of
security Mark Hanna deny conspiracy to pervert the course of
Coulson and Stuart Kuttner, the News of the World's long-serving
managing editor, deny conspiracy to hack phones, and Coulson and the
paper's ex-royal editor Clive Goodman deny conspiracy to commit
misconduct in a public office.
The trial is due to last until mid-May.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Alistair Lyon)
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