MURDOCH INSIDER REBEKAH BROOKS CHARGED OVER PHONE-HACKING INQUIRY

Rebekah Brooks is watched by her husband Charlie Brooks as she speaks to reporters outside a solicitors office on May 15, 2012 in London, England. Mrs Brooks, former editor of the News of the World newspaper, and her husband Charlie Brooks, have been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in connection with the phone hacking inquiry. (photo: Getty Images)

Former News International chief Rebekah Brooks blasted British prosecutors Tuesday for charging her with obstructing the investigation into phone hacking at media mogul Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, calling the case "an expensive sideshow."

Brooks, whose husband, driver and personal assistant also face charges, said she is "baffled" and angered by the decision to charge "those closest to me."

"One day the details of this case will emerge, and people will see today as nothing more than an expensive sideshow -- a waste of public money as a result of an unjust and weak decision," she told reporters outside her lawyer's office.

Her husband, Charles, said his wife is the victim of a "witch hunt," and that the charges against him and others are "an attempt to use me and others as scapegoats, the effect of which is to ratchet up the pressure on my wife."

"I am confident that the lack of evidence against me will be borne out in court," he said. "But I have grave doubts that my wife will ever get a fair trial, given the volume of biased commentary which she has been subject to."

Brooks, her husband and a total of four employees are accused of plotting to remove seven boxes of documents from News International offices and hide computers and documents from police. They are charged in connection with British police investigations into phone hacking and police bribery, which have been going on for more than a year.

In addition to her driver and assistant, the charges include one of her security guards and the head of security for News International, the News Corp. subsidiary that publishes Murdoch's British newspapers.

Brooks faces three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, while the other four suspects face two counts each of the same charge.

The maximum sentence for the charges they face is life in prison, the Crown Prosecution Service said, but a British lawyer said a more likely sentence is four to 18 months. Lawyer James Lofthouse said the longest sentence he could recall was 42 months.

Separately, police announced they had arrested two more people Tuesday in connection with the bribery investigation. The man and woman were arrested at their home in London, police said.

The arrests were based on information provided by News Corp., police said.

CNN              15/05/2012

 
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