Nightly News   |  November 01, 2013

Murdoch tabloids under fire for spying on Royals

The former top editors of “The Sun” and the now-defunct “News of the World” have been accused of spying on the Royals and paying military officials for private information about dead servicemen. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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>>> as we said, a sensational trial is under way in london and involves how it is some newspapers seem to know everything going on in the lives of celebrities, including members of the royal family . prosecutors say it's because they were listening in on their lives. our report tonight from nbc's kier simmons in london.

>> reporter: the private lives of royals and the famous, always good for a headline. now it's journalists making headlines in court. accused of conspiring to spy on william and kate when they were dating by hacking their cell phone messages. even offering a military official thousands of dollars for a picture of william in a bikini. on trial, former top editors of the news of the world, now defunct, and the sun owned by rupert murdock 's news corporation which also owns the wall street journal . rebecca brooks, some say she's like his daughter, accused of paying military officials for private information about servicemen.

>> one day the details of this case will emerge.

>> reporter: andy colson, said to have approved a secret phone book later became the communications director .

>> this is a sad day for news of the world.

>> reporter: in court it was revealed they had a six-year affair while splashing sordid stories based on what was heard on hacked phones. among the alleged victims, angelina jolie , paul mccartney , hugh grant , britain's prime minister. even a murdered teenager girl. one story was about prince harry written by reporters who listened to a cell phone message he left for a friend. i need a write an essay quickly, he said. i need info. it was how the tabloids got information which became the scandal. his editors so thirsty for sensational stories it landed them in court. kier simmons, nbc news,