LONDON -- Former News International chief Rebekah Brooks said she was baffled by the decision to charge her and her husband with obstructing justice, the gravest charges yet in the British phone-hacking scandal.
“One day the details of this case will emerge, and people will see today as nothing more than an expensive sideshow, a waste of public money, as the result of an unjust and weak decision,” she told reporters.
British prosecutors announced Tuesday that Brooks is to be charged with three counts of "conspiracy to pervert the course of justice," tied to her alleged attempts to hide or remove evidence related to the police investigation into phone hacking and corruption at the News of the World and the Sun tabloids. Before the scandal, Brooks oversaw all of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in Britain.
Her husband, Charlie, will face two counts of obstructing justice, prosecutors said.
“I feel today is an attempt to use me and others as scapegoats, the effect of which will be to ratchet up the pressure on my wife, who I also believe is the subject of a witch hunt,” Charlie Brooks said at the same news conference.
He questioned whether his wife could get a fair trial in light of “the huge volume of biased commentary that she is constantly subjected to.”
Four other people will also face charges, including Brooks’ former personal assistant and her chauffeur. A seventh person was investigated but not charged.
"There is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction," prosecutor Alison Levitt said of the charges earlier Tuesday.
-- Henry Chu
Photo: Rebekah Brooks is watched by her husband, Charlie, as she speaks to reporters outside an attorney's office Tuesday in London. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images