LONDON - Rebekah Brooks, a former executive to Rupert Murdoch and a close friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron, pleaded not guilty in a London court on Wednesday to charges related to phone hacking during her time running two national tabloids.
Brooks denied the charges as she stood in the dock at a packed Southwark Crown Court alongside her husband and other senior journalists from the now-defunct News of the World Sunday tabloid.
She is due to stand trial in September.
Brooks pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to hack phones and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Wearing a black jacket and trousers and speaking loudly and clearly, the 45-year-old also pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Other senior staff, including the tabloid's former managing editor Stuart Kuttner and former assistant news editor James Weatherup, also pleaded not guilty to charges related to phone hacking, while her husband and her personal assistant pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The former editor of the News of the World and the Sun who went on to run the whole of Murdoch's British newspaper arm, Brooks was arrested in July 2011 along with other members of staff over charges related to the unlawful interception of mobile phone messages to generate front-page news stories.
The scandal, which prompted the closure of the mass-selling News of the World and a year-long public inquiry, sent shockwaves through the British establishment as it revealed the close ties between the country's media, police and politicians.