Andy Coulson, who edited The News of the World before becoming Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications, and Rebekah Brooks, former editor of The Sun before becoming chief executive of News International, will be charged with bribing a Defense Ministry Official.
Via the New York Times
Under a new bribery act passed by Parliament in 2010, described by British legal experts as one of the toughest statutes of its kind anywhere, the maximum penalty for bribing a public official is 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine, but the statute also provides for much lesser penalties.
The accusations seem certain to precipitate a new debate about the practice known in Britain as “checkbook journalism,” common for many years, under which editors, reporters and investigators have paid sources clandestinely for information, or provided them with other benefits. A defense often made of the practice has been that the information obtained in this way serves the public interest, particularly when a resulting article exposes waste or dishonesty in public office…
…Altogether, more than 50 former newspaper executives, lawyers, editors, reporters and investigators have been arrested and questioned in extensive police inquiries.