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News of the World's goodbye message when it closed in 2011. (Credit: News of the World, screenshot)

Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and six others are now on trial for charges related to the UK phone hacking scandal, charges to which they have pleaded not guilty.

Brooks is the former News International CEO who resigned after phone hacking allegations were made against the News of the World. She previously had been an editor at News of the World and the Sun.  Coulson resigned as UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s communication director amidst growing phone hacking allegations against News Corp in 2011.  He previously resigned as News of the World editor in 2007 after two people including a News of the World reporter were convicted of phone hacking.

The trial’s length will be between four and six months, based on reports from the Guardian and BBC. This is “the first of four trials” for phone hacking, The Guardian reported.

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The eight defendants and their charges are

  1. Rebekah Brooks -phone hacking, conspiracy to “commit misconduct in public office” (by bribery) and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
  2. Charlie Brooks (Rebekah Brooks’s husband) – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
  3. Cheryl Carter (Rebekah Brooks’s former assistant) – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
  4. Andy Coulson – “conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office,” and phone hacking
  5. Stuart Kuttner (former News of the World managing editor) – “conspiracy to hack phones”
  6. Ian Edmondson (former head of news) – “conspiracy to hack phones”
  7. Mark Hanna (News International head of security) – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
  8. Clive Goodman (former News of the World royal correspondent, convicted of hacking in 2007) – “conspiring with Coulson to commit misconduct in public office”

The Associated Press reported on what prison terms the eight could face if convicted. “The maximum sentence for phone hacking is two years in prison, while the other charges carry a maximum life sentence, although the average term imposed is much shorter,” according to the AP.

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Phone Hacking Trial Starts: 8 Defendants Include Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson

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