Jury hears opening arguments in News of the World phone hacking case


A copy of the last-ever News of The World newspaper is for sale at a newsagents in central Manchester on July 10, 2011 in Manchester, England. The 168-year-old newspaper was closed amid phone hacking and bribery allegations


Christopher Furlong

A jury at London’s Central Criminal Court heard opening arguments in the phone hacking trial of former News of the World executives on Wednesday.

Former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks and former News of the World Editor Andy Coulson, have been charged with conspiring to intercept communications and conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office. Brooks and Coulson deny all charges. Several others are also on trial for illegal behavior at News of the World.

"There was phone hacking, and quite a lot of it," prosecutor Andrew Edis told the jury. "Given they (Brooks and Coulson) were so senior, if they knew about it, well obviously they were allowing it to happen. They were in charge of the purse strings."

Brooks and Coulson also authorized illegal payments to public officials when they ran Rupert Murdoch’s now-closed tabloid News of the World, Edis told the court.

One payment, to a senior Ministry of Defense official, totaled nearly $64,000, he said.

Edis revealed that three senior journalists at the News of the World have already pleaded guilty to hacking phones. Former news editor Greg Miskiw, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup have all entered guilty pleas, he said.

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