Brooks, Coulson charged over alleged payments to officials

(File photo) Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News International is pictured on September 26 in London.

Story highlights

  • Rebekah Brooks will appear in court next week, charged over alleged illegal payments
  • Andy Coulson faces charges over alleged payments to officials in a separate case
  • Brooks and Coulson edited a newspaper that was part of the News Corp. empire
  • Coulson was director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron

Rupert Murdoch protégé Rebekah Brooks was charged Tuesday with conspiracy over alleged illegal payments to a Ministry of Defence employee, London's Metropolitan Police said Tuesday.

In a separate case, Andy Coulson, another former Murdoch employee who went on to work for Prime Minister David Cameron, faces charges of conspiring to make illegal payments to officials for information relating to the royal family, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said.

Read more: Why media fights back so hard

Brooks and Coulson are former editors of the now-defunct News of the World newspaper, owned by a UK subsidiary of Murdoch's News Corp., News International.

Brooks also was editor of daily tabloid The Sun from 2003 to 2009 before becoming chief executive of News International.

Former NOTW editors charged with bribery
Former NOTW editors charged with bribery


    Former NOTW editors charged with bribery


Former NOTW editors charged with bribery 01:18
Inside the UK phone hacking scandal
Inside the UK phone hacking scandal


    Inside the UK phone hacking scandal


Inside the UK phone hacking scandal 04:54
Rupert Murdoch: 'I was not aware'
Rupert Murdoch: 'I was not aware'


    Rupert Murdoch: 'I was not aware'


Rupert Murdoch: 'I was not aware' 03:18

Two others face charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office alongside Brooks -- the former chief reporter at The Sun, John Kay, and Bettina Jordan-Barber, employed by the Ministry of Defence.

A fourth suspect, identified only as a second public official, remains under investigation, the CPS said.

The charges in this case relate to the period from January 1, 2004, to January 31 of this year, Alison Levitt, chief legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, said in a statement.

"This conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan Barber for payment which formed the basis of a series of news stories published by The Sun," Levitt said. "It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011."

Kay, 69, and Brooks, 44, were formally charged at London police stations Tuesday. Both are scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on November 29.

The case in which Coulson is charged also involves former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman.

Both men face two counts of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

"The allegations relate to the request and authorization of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a palace phone directory known as the "Green Book" containing contact details for the royal family and members of the household," Levitt said.

Royal officials declined to comment on the charges.

Coulson, who took over as editor of News of the World in 2003, having served as deputy editor for three years, resigned from the post in 2007.

He was then appointed director of communications for Cameron but stepped down in early 2011 amid questions over allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World, saying he did not want to be a distraction.

The charges against Coulson, Brooks and the other suspects result from a Metropolitan Police investigation into alleged illegal payments to public officials, codenamed Operation Elveden. It was launched in conjunction with police inquiries into alleged phone and computer hacking.

The News of the World was shuttered in summer 2011 amid public outrage over revelations that it hacked into the voicemail of a missing schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, who later turned out to have been murdered.

      The hacking scandal

    • Former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson arrives at the phone-hacking trial at the Old Bailey court in London on January 27, 2014.

      Who is Andy Coulson?

      Britain's phone-hacking scandal has seen former tabloid editor Andy Coulson move from the newsroom into the full glare of its spotlight.
    • Timeline of hacking scandal

      How did phone hacking grow into a scandal that threatened Rupert Murdoch's hold on his global media business? Track all the major events.
    • Caption:LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a reception during a visit to Centrepoint's Camberwell Foyer on December 21, 2011 in London, England. The national charity, Centrepoint, provides housing and support to improve the lives of homeless young people aged 16-25. (Photo by Ben Stansall-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      7 amazing things we learned

      The phone hacking trial revealed much about the inner workings of Rupert Murdoch's sex-and-scandal tabloids.
    • Rupert Murdoch (R) his wife Wendi Deng (C) and son Lachlan (L) leave their London home on April 26.

      Why media fights back so hard?

      Media expert Brian Cathcart says Fleet St. has grabbed its megaphone and started bellowing out its usual message: leave us alone.
    • How Murdoch bounced back

      Could the phone-hacking scandal prove to be a blessing in disguise for Murdoch? He claimed to have been "humbled" by the scandal.
    • Read: The Leveson Inquiry report

      The Leveson inquiry is a British government-backed inquiry into illegal eavesdropping and bribery by journalists. Read the final report by Lord Leveson.