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News of the World editor found guilty on phone hacking charge

But Andy Coulson's replacement, Rebekah Brooks, was acquitted on all charges.


Andy Coulson, former editor of the now-defunct News of the World in the UK, has been found guilty of hacking charges, a jury revealed on Tuesday.

Coulson, who served as editor of News of the World before leaving the post to serve as communications director for British prime minister David Cameron, was found guilty of one charge of conspiracy to hack phones during his tenure at News of the World. The jury is still debating two other counts against him.

The verdict has been a long time coming. News of the World, a publication that was part of News International, a subsidiary of the then-News Corp., was implicated in a vast phone-hacking scandal that involved journalists at many of the publications owned by News International illegally hacking the phones of a wide range of people, including politicians, celebrities, and individuals that might have proven useful in news gathering.

Coulson's conviction came alongside four not guilty verdicts for Rebekah Brooks, who formerly served as editor at News of the World and eventually as News International CEO. Brooks was charged with conspiring to intercept communications.

While Coulson's conviction is considered a blow to News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch, Brooks' acquittal is also a win for him. She was reportedly one of Murdoch's closest confidants and a pivotal player in his company.

In 2011, it was revealed that the hacking, which allegedly took place for several years before News of the World was toppled in 2011, gave journalists information on a wide range of events, including the London bombings. In that case, victims of the bombings had their phones hacked, and journalists allegedly used the information to report on the news. It's also believed that relatives of killed British soldiers were hacked, along with phones related to the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler.

Not long after the News of the World shut down, Coulson, a former managing editor at the publication, along with several other officials at the paper and News International, were arrested on hacking charges.

Coulson served at News of the World between 2003 and 2007. He stepped down from his post to become the communications director for Cameron. In January 2011, he stepped down from that post and was arrested in connection with the News of the World scandal in July of that year. He promptly pleaded not guilty.

The jury has yet to determine Coulson's sentence. That should be coming down in the upcoming weeks.

(Via The Guardian)