In an early morning raid, the British Metropolitan Police today re-arrested Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch’s former top executive of News International. Brooks was being questioned by police officers and her premises searched.
Six people were picked up including Brook’s husband, Charlie Brooks, who is a prominent horse breeder and a friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron, as part of the police’s probe into allegations of phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World, owned by News Corp., parent of Fox News.
News International has confirmed that its head of security, Mark Hanna, is also among the six people being held. All suspects were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and covering up criminal behavior as part of the investigation into the illegal hacking of voicemail messages that brought down Britain’s top-selling Sunday newspaper and forced James Murdoch to step down as executive chairman of News International.
This is the second time Brooks has been arrested in connection with the phone hacking scandal. Last July, Brooks, who was considered to be one of the most powerful women in British newspapers, was held on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, but was later released on police bail.
Victims of the illegal behavior included actor Hugh Grant and Harry Potter author JK Rowling. All have testified at a judge-led inquiry into media ethics which began last year and resulted in cash settlements to some of the paper’s phone hacking victims. An investigation is also looking into the way the police helped the press, which has also lead to a number of recent arrests.
Public outrage erupted last July with the revelation that Murdoch journalists reportedly hacked the cellphone of 13-year-old murdered school girl Milly Dowler, who disappeared in March 2002, misleading her parents and investigators into thinking she was still alive and checking her messages.
An investigation led to the resignation of Cameron’s top media adviser, Andy Coulson, who had been the editor of the News of the World. Both Coulson and Brooks have denied wrongdoing.