Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of Rupert Mudoch’s British media group News International, and Andy Coulson, ex-communications chief of Prime Minister David Cameron, were on Tuesday charged with bribing police and public officials for stories when they edited The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World respectively.
While Ms. Brooks was charged with conspiracy to pay a Ministry of Defence employee, Bettina Jordan Barber, £100,000 for information behind a series of stories that appeared in The Sun, Mr. Coulson was charged with conspiring to pay for stories about the royal family published in NoW under his editorship.
He resigned after the paper’s royal correspondent Clive Goodman was jailed for hacking phones of Princes William and Harry.
Mr. Goodman was also charged on Tuesday along with John Kay, a former chief reporter of The Sun, and Ms. Barber, the defence ministry employee who allegedly accepted money from Ms. Brooks
Both Ms. Brooks and Mr. Coulson already face charges relating to a string of other offences in connection with the NoW phone- hacking scandal which led to the closure of the 168-year-old tabloid and arrests of some of Britain’s most high-profile Murdoch journalists.
They deny any wrongdoing.
Mr. Coulson said he was “extremely disappointed”.
“I deny the allegations made against me and will fight the charges in court,” he said in a statement.
Alison Levitt, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said the decision to charge Ms. Brooks, Mr. Coulson and others was taken “in accordance with the DPP’s guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media”.
“This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings,” she said.