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Rebekah Brooks to start defense in phone hacking trial

By Bryony Jones, CNN
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
 Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at the Old Bailey on February 19, 2014 in London, England.
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at the Old Bailey on February 19, 2014 in London, England.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dubbed the phone hacking trial, it has ensnared big names
  • Andy Coulson, a former Downing Street communications director, also faces trial
  • Brooks was the youngest person to edit a national British newspaper

(CNN) -- Rebekah Brooks, the former boss of News International, begins her defense Wednesday against allegations that she was part of a conspiracy to intercept the voicemails of high-profile figures in Britain.

Dubbed the phone hacking trial, it has ensnared big names, including Andy Coulson, a former Downing Street communications director.

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Brooks faces three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice linked to claims she plotted to remove boxes of documents from News International offices, and hide computers and documents from police. She denies any wrongdoing.

She resigned as chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International in July 2011 amid outrage over claims of widespread hacking by staff at its News of the World newspaper.

Once feted as a rising star in British media, she was the youngest person to edit a national British newspaper.

She held the top job at News International, News Corp.'s British subsidiary, for two years after editing the country's best-selling daily tabloid, The Sun, and its best-selling Sunday tabloid, News of the World.

But following sweeping allegations of illegal eavesdropping by News of the World journalists when she was editor, she has seen her fortunes fade, and was arrested and questioned several times by police investigating hacking, prior to being charged.

News International is News Corp.'s British newspaper arm . The fallout forced Murdoch to shut down the News of the World in 2011.

READ: CNN host Piers Morgan questioned in UK hacking investigation

READ: Report: Kate Middleton's phone hacked, court told

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