Fighting back: Former Murdoch editor defiant in phone hacking scandal

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Rebekah Brooks launched an angry attack on police and prosecutors, claiming they were dragging her friends and family into the phone hacking scandal, after she was charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The former News International editor and chief executive said allegations that she, her racehorse trainer husband Charlie and four others plotted to hide evidence were “an expensive sideshow and a waste of public money”.

The couple will appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court on June 13 alongside her former PA Cheryl Carter and chauffeur Paul Edwards. Mark Hanna, head of security at News International and security consultant Daryl Jorsling also face single counts of conspiring with her. In a defiant statement, 43-year-old Mrs Brooks said: “Although I understand the need for a thorough investigation, I am baffled by the decision to charge me. However I cannot express my anger enough that those close to me have unfairly been dragged into this.”

She was charged with three counts, including that she removed boxes of material from the News International archive and tried to conceal documents, computers and other material from the multimillion-pound Scotland Yard inquiry.

Mrs Brooks, listed on a police indictment as “unemployed” of Churchill, Oxfordshire, was charged in an hour-long meeting with detectives taking part in Operation Weeting.

She added: “Whilst I have always respected the criminal justice system, I have to question today whether this decision was made on a proper impartial assessment of the evidence.”

Mr Brooks said: “I feel today is an attempt to use me and others as scapegoats, the effect of which is to ratchet up the pressure on my wife, who I believe is the subject of a witch hunt. We will fight this in court.”