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Ex-Murdoch editor Brooks denies having six-year Coulson affair

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[February 21, 2014]  LONDON (Reuters)  Rebekah Brooks, the former boss of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, denied having a six-year affair with fellow editor Andy Coulson but said they did have periods of physical intimacy over a number of years.

Taking the stand for the second day at her trial, Brooks said on Friday she had been extremely close friends with Coulson, and on occasion had intimate relations with him between 1998 and 2006.

Coulson, a former editor of Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World tabloid, went on to become the spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron. He is also on trial with Brooks over charges relating to phone hacking. They both deny the charges.

The prosecution has charged that the two former editors had a six-year affair at the time their staff were hacking into voicemails to secure exclusive stories.


Revealing their close ties in October, prosecutor Andrew Edis had told the jury that the intimacy of their relationship indicated both knew as much as the other about the criminal activities of senior journalists on the paper.

"First of all it's not true," she said, of the prosecution's allegation of an affair, before accepting suggestions from her lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw that they had had moments of intimacy.

"My personal life was a bit of a car crash for many years and it was probably very easy to blame work: the hours were very long and hard and you get thrown together in an industry like that."

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Brooks and Coulson are accused of conspiring to hack into phones of high-profile public figures or those close to them and also making illegal payments to public officials.

($1 = 0.6003 British pounds)

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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