Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s British media group News International, has pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, which led to her downfall as one of Britain’s most influential media figures and the closure of the 168-year-old tabloid.

She faces a string of serious charges, including conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and to pervert the course of justice.

Ms. Brooks has become the public face of the hacking row which prompted the setting up of a judicial inquiry into media ethics.

The courtoom was packed when she appeared at Southwark Crown Court for a pre-trial hearing along with several other highprofile defendants, including her husband Charlie, a racehorse trainer, who is charged with covering-up phone-hacking evidence.

He also denied all the allegations as did other defendants.

They were released on bail ahead of a trial likely to begin later this year.

Ms. Brooks and her husband are accused of removing seven boxes of material from the News International archive and concealing documents, computers and other electronic equipment from police.

The allegations relate to July 2011 after Ms Brooks was forced to resign amid new allegations of hacking at the News of the World when she was its editor.

The scandal has embarrassed Mr Cameron whose close relationship with the Brooks has raised questions about the mediapolitician nexus.

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