A trial involving the former News International chief executive and David Cameron’s former spin doctor began earlier this week and on Thursday it was revealed that Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had an affair that lasted for at least six years. The Guardian reported that the surprising disclosure was made by the prosecution in the case against Brooks and Coulson.
Brooks and Coulson are two of Great Britain’s most high profile former newspaper editors. They are currently on trial with six others accused of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages and illegal payments to public officials.
The affair occurred during the time that Brooks was the top editor of Rupert Murdoch’s “News of the World” tabloid. The affair began in 1998 and lasted for about six years. It ended before Coulson took on a position as the top communication director to Prime Minister David Cameron. The most significant aspect of the affair is that it happened when the “News of the World” hacked into the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler. Brooks has adamantly denied that she knew about the hacking, but according to the prosecution, “what Mr. Coulson know Mrs. Brooks knew, and what Mrs. Brooks new Mr. Coulson knew.” When news of the hacking became public in 2011, the public outrage was so great that Murdoch shut down the 168-year-old “News of the World” paper.
The prosecution has also stated that Brooks, Coulson, and the others on trial, resorted to hacking phones in a desperate bid to stay ahead of their competition and garner the most controversial front-page stories. The trial is set to last for nearly six months. Brooks and Coulson, have denied the charges against them, but three senior journalists from the “News of the World” have pleaded guilty to hacking phones.