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U.K. Hacking Scandal: Former News Corp. Exec Rebekah Brooks Acquitted, Andy Coulson Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Hack Phones

Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson, Kate Middleton, Prince William Getty Images

Someone at the News of the World had to have played a role in the culture that led to the hacking of, among others, the voicemails of Kate Middleton, Prince WilliamPrince Harry and a teenage murder victim.

And former NOTW editor Andy Coulson was that person, according to the jury that found him guilty today of one count of conspiring to hack phones—the only guilty verdict to be handed down so far upon the conclusion of an eight-month trial that will be remembered as a shocking exposé of British tabloid culture.

Former News Corp. executive and Rupert Murdoch pal Rebekah Brooks—the youngest-ever editor at NOTW and then editor of The Sun from 2003 until 2009—was acquitted of one count of conspiring to hack phones, two of perverting the course of justice and one of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.

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Fellow defendants Charlie Brooks (Rebekah's husband), former NOTW managing editor Stuart Kuttner, Brooks' assistant Cheryl Carter and former News International head of security Mark Hanna were all acquitted of various related charges.

The jury has yet to arrive at verdicts on two counts each of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office leveled at Coulson and former NOTW royals editor Clive Goodman. 

Goodman, who spent time in jail in 2007 for hacking into the phones of three royal aides, testified during the trial that he hacked the Kate Middleton's mobile 155 times starting in 2005 due to her "increasing importance" in Prince William's life.

News Corp. shuttered the 168-year-old NOTW in 2011 in the wake of the hacking accusations, a scandal that prompted Hugh Grant giving to testimony about predatory tabloid practices before Parliament and Piers Morgan facing accusations that he presided over such an operation while he was editor of the Daily Mirror (all of which he denied).

Hugh Grant Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

"We said long ago, and repeat today, that wrongdoing occurred, and we apologized for it," News Corp.'s News UK said in a statement in response to the verdicts. "We made changes in the way we do business to help ensure wrongdoing like this does not occur again."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who employed Coulson as a media advisor for four years after the journalist left NOTW in 2007, apologized for his choice of hire.

"I'm extremely sorry that I employed him," Cameron said. "It was the wrong decision. I'm very clear about that."

According to Bloomberg, News Corp. has now settled more than 700 civil lawsuits related to hacking.

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