I am not guilty of these charges. I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship. I am distressed and angry that the [Crown Prosecution Service] have reached this decision when they knew all the facts and were in a position to stop the case at this stage. The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. I will vigorously defend these allegations.
Statement from Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive, reacting to news that British prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to charge her along with others with criminal conspiracy in the ongoing phone hacking scandal.
The Guardian, Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and six others face charges [live blog].
Background via the Guardian:
British prosecutors say they have the evidence to prove there was a criminal conspiracy at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper involving former senior executives, including Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, to hack the phones of more than 600 people including the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Announcing the charging of eight people over the phone-hacking scandal on Tuesday, prosecutors alleged the tabloid’s targets ranged from a victim of the 7 July 2005 terrorist attacks to celebrities and senior Labour politicians.
Coulson left the editorship of the News of the World in 2007 after a journalist and private investigator were convicted of phone hacking, and would go on to be appointed as director of communications for the Conservative party. After the 2010 election Coulson worked in Downing Street for David Cameron, who said he deserved a “second chance”, as one of the prime minister’s most senior advisers, before Coulson resigned as renewed controversy over phone hacking grew.
Prosecutors say other victims of hacking include former senior Labour cabinet ministers such as the former deputy prime minister John Prescott, two former home secretaries, David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and the former culture secretary Tessa Jowell.
While reports are coming in from all over, here’s what we’re finding interesting this morning.
Guardian: News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks resigns. Brooks was News of the World editor when reporters hacked the phone of a missing girl which lead investigators astray as the reporters deleted messages so they could hear new ones coming in. The girl, it turns out, was murdered.
BBC: The FBI is opening an investigation into whether News Corp sought to hack phones of 9/11 victims.
WSJ: Rupert Murdoch says News Corp is handling the phone hacking crisis “extremely well in every possible way,” and calls reports that the company might sell off its newspaper assets “pure and total rubbish.”