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Phone Hacking Verdicts: Brooks Cleared, Coulson Guilty

The scandal that took down public officials and one of the most circulated papers in the world brought down guilty and not guilty verdicts Tuesday.

Phone Hacking Verdicts: Brooks Cleared, Coulson Guilty
BBC
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Verdicts came down mid-Tuesday in the months-long trial of British journalists and public officials on trial for phone hacking. 

MARK WHITE, SKY NEWS REPORTER: "Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, has been found not guilty of phone hacking. Andy Coulson ... has been found guilty."

Coulson is the former editor of the News of the World and eventually became English Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief before the scandal alleging a massive phone hacking operation forced him to resign. (Via The Guardian)

The widespread allegations of hacking cell phone voicemails, including those of a murdered teenage girl, caused an uproar so huge media magnate Rupert Murdoch decided to shut down News of the World in 2011. At the time, the 168-year-old tabloid newspaper focusing on celebrity scoops still had one of the largest English-language circulations in the world.

The verdict's breaking news had several media outlets in the U.K. dump out of commercials right around noon local time to begin wall-to-wall coverage. The highly-anticipated trial lasted eight months before the jury got the case earlier in June. (Via Sky News)

ROBIN BRANT, BBC REPORTER: "Andy Coulson stood there hands behind his back looking forward and slightly up. He showed absolutely no emotion as the verdict was returned. ... Rebekah Brooks, a very small what appeared to be a mouthing of a 'thank you' to the jury."

​While it wasn't immediately clear what convinced the jury to convict Coulson and acquit Brooks, The Guardian reports Coulson shocked the courtroom during trial by admitting he had listened to the voicemail of a former British home secretary.

The News of the World hacking scandal affected phones of royals, celebrities and victims of crime. A former employee of the paper once told The New York Times, "The office cat knew," about alleged illegal activity.

Over the course of trial, it's also been revealed Brooks and Coulson had an extra-marital affair. Prosecutors charged five others in the hacking case. (Via BBC)

Again, these were only partial verdicts for some defendants. The jury is still considering charges against Coulson and ex-News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman for paying off law enforcement officers.