(CN) – English Prime Minister David Cameron’s former media chief Andy Coulson and Rupert Murdoch’s former UK newspaper boss Rebekah Brooks will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications, wire services reported today.
Prosecutors said Coulson and Brooks would be charged with offenses that occurred from 2000 to 2006, when they were editors of News of the World, the Sunday scandal sheet that Murdoch closed last year after his employees’ phone hacking became a worldwide scandal.
Sox other former News of the World employees also will be charged, prosecutors told Reuters.
If convicted of phone hacking, the journos face up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine.
Brooks and Coulson will both be accused of involvement in the hacking of the cell phone of Milly Dowler, a schoolgirl who was murdered in 2002, Reuters reported.
That case set off particular public fury, as the hacker or hackers allegedly deleted messages from Dowler’s voice mailbox, to make room to hack more of them, but the changes in the mailbox gave her parents false hope that she was still alive.
Brooks today denied involvement in the phone hacking and specifically denied involvement in the Milly Dowler case.
Coulson resigned from Murdoch’s news group as the scandal became public, then became communications chief for now-Prime Minister Cameron’s Conservative Party, helping steer Cameron to England’s highest elected office. The new charges are expected to cause Cameron political problems.