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Brooks Discussed Hacking With Ex-Husband Weeks Before Her Arrest

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, discussed phone hacking with her ex-husband weeks before the closure of the company’s News of the World tabloid, prosecutors said as they wrapped up the their three-month-old case today.

“Hello. How are you? Need to talk to you about phone hacking at some point,” Brooks said in the e-mail to Ross Kemp in June 2011 read out by prosecution lawyer Andrew Edis. “When are you around?”

Brooks, Andy Coulson, a former editor of the tabloid, and five other people are on trial for charges related to phone hacking, bribery of public officials and hiding evidence. Rupert Murdoch, chairman of New York-based News Corp., closed the News of the World in July 2011 after the discovery that the newspaper accessed the voice mails of a murdered schoolgirl years earlier.

Police retrieved the e-mails from the BlackBerry of Brooks, the 45-year-old former chief executive officer of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, after her arrest in July 2011.

The jury today was also allowed to read the full love letter Brooks wrote to Coulson in 2004 after he broke off a six-year-long affair with her. Prosecutors first told the jury about the relationship on Nov. 1, on the third day of the trial.

The case, which is scheduled to last until mid-May, will resume on Feb. 17 when the prosecution will officially close its case and defense arguments will start.

The trial has focused on what the prosecution said was criminal activity carried out by reporters at its weekly tabloids. Celebrities, politicians, News Corp. employees and cleaners have been called to testify in the case.

The other defendants include Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of the News of the World, who is accused of phone hacking. The newspaper’s one-time royal reporter, Clive Goodman is charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.

Brooks’s husband, Charlie, her former assistant Cheryl Carter, and the U.K. unit’s former head of security, Mark Hanna, face charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. All seven have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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