Eight charged in News of the World phone hacking scandal

Prosecutors have charged eight people with crimes connected to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, which forced parent company News Corporation to shut down the 168-year-old tabloid last July.

Among the eight charged were former NOTW editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, the latter of whom served a stint as Prime Minister David Cameron's press aide after leaving the newspaper. Also charged was Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator whose admitted hacking of 13-year-old murder victim Milly Dowler's mobile phone following her 2002 abduction kindled public outrage over the News Corp. tabloid's information-gathering methods.

The five others charged by prosecutors, all NOTW journalists, were Stuart Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck, and James Weatherup.

All of those named, with the exception of Mulcaire, are being charged with "conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority" from 3 October 2000 to 9 August 2006. Additionally, charges relating to specific hacking victims have been issued against all eight defendants.

Two former NOTW journalists and a third reporter who formerly worked for the Evening Standard have been told they will not be charged, according to the newspaper.

Authorities have said that the hacking of Dowler's phone may have hindered their investigation into her 2002 disappearance. A hacker or hackers deleted messages in the phone's full voice mail box, apparently to make room for other incoming messages they hoped to intercept, giving investigators and her family false hope that she was still alive. Dowler's body was found six months after her abduction.

A host of other alleged phone-hacking victims are named in the suit, including former England football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson; actors Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Sienna Miller; England and Manchester United football star Wayne Rooney; Sir Paul McCartney and his then-wife Heather Mills; and several members of the British Parliament.

Under Brooks' and Coulson's watch, the tabloid also allegedly bribed police for non-public information and attempted to hack the phones of grieving family members of victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

Several of those charged, including Coulson, have issued denials of any wrongdoing.