Three out of four phone hacking defendants were acquitted today, including Rupert Murdoch protegé Rebekah Brooks. Andy Coulson, a former aide to Prime Minister David Cameron, was the only defendant convicted.
After an eight-month trial, The New York Times reports that Brooks, the former head of Murdoch's newspaper empire, was acquitted of all charges. So were her husband and former personal assistant. However, Coulson, Brooks' ex-lover and underling, was convicted of conspiracy to intercept voice mails. Two other charges are still pending with the jury. There are a lot of unhappy people on Twitter tonight over the fact that the prosecutors could not get more convictions.
The Guardian reports:
Coulson's verdict raised immediate questions for Cameron, who hired him as director of communications only a few weeks after he quit the News of the World.
...Coulson's conviction brings the number of former News of the World journalists facing jail over phone-hacking to five. efore the trial three former newsdesk executives, including Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup, pleaded guilty, as did the phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire and a former reporter, Dan Evans, who confessed to hacking Sienna Miller's messages on Daniel Craig's phone.
Neville Thurlbeck, the News of the World's former chief reporter and news editor, pleaded guilty after the police found the tapes he had of Blunkett's messages in a News International safe. Sentencing is expected a few days after the trial is finished.
I'm interested in knowing why the prosecution was unable to make its case and whether this will be widely seen as a vindication for Muroch. I'll report back once more is known.
$10 says that Fox News will suddenly want to talk about this, after all these months of ignoring it- And that a lot of it will be in victory lap form.