Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and three other former employees at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers lost a bid to have a U.K. appeals court throw out phone-hacking charges.
The defendants, who are being prosecuted over allegations they intercepted cell phone voicemails while working for the News of the World tabloid, argued saved messages weren’t covered by laws protecting private communications. Brooks and Coulson pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month.
The rules apply even if a “voicemail message has already been received and read by the intended recipient,” Judge Igor Judge said in a written decision rejecting their appeal.
Lawyers for Brooks, the former chief executive officer of New Corp.’s U.K. unit, and Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World and media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.
The other defendants who sought to block the prosecution were Stuart Kuttner, the tabloid’s former managing editor, former news editor Ian Edmondson and former reporter James Weatherup, who have all pleaded not guilty.