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Murdoch Storm: Brooks, Coulson to be CHARGED over BUNGS

UK media methods scandal means big names in court

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Prime Minister David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and Rupert Murdoch's erstwhile right-hand woman Rebekah Brooks are to be charged as part of Scotland Yard's long-running investigation into corrupt payments relating to allegations of phone-hacking at the now-defunct News of the World Sunday tabloid.

Alison Levitt, QC, who is the principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), confirmed that three other individuals who had been arrested by officers working on Operation Elveden were also expected to be charged.

They are: Bettina Jordan Barber - a Ministry of Defence employee, John Kay - chief reporter (1990 to 2011) at Murdoch's Sun newspaper and Clive Goodman - one-time NotW royal correspondent.

One other suspect wasn't named on the charge sheet as the investigation relating to that individual is yet to be completed, the CPS said.

Levitt said:

We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Bettina Jordan Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012.

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. It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011.

The QC continued:

We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Clive Goodman and Andy Coulson should be charged with two conspiracies.

The allegations relate to the request and authorisation 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.

Coulson and Goodman face two separate charges relating to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, first between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003 and again between 31 January 2005 and 3 June 2005. Coulson had been deputy editor at the News of the World between 2000 and 2003, before becoming editor of the redtop from 2003 to 2007.

Brooks, Jordan Barber and Kay allegedly "conspired together, and with others, to commit misconduct in public office" between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012 and are being charged under the Criminal Law Act.

"Following charge, these individuals will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on a date to be determined," said Levitt.

In July this year, Coulson and Brooks were among a number of suspects who were charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority as part of the Met's investigation into alleged phone-hacking at Murdoch's Sunday tabloid - dubbed Operation Weeting. ®

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