Six journalists, including Rebekah Brooks, the flame-haired former chief of News International, and her husband Charlie have been arrested in the ongoing investigation of the phone-hacking scandal that rocked the UK when Brooks was arrested for the first time last July.
The new arrests in that same investigation opened those wounds anew, even while Brooks and her husband have reportedly been released on bail.
“Police say the six have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice,” reported ABC (Australia)’s London bureau chief Philip Williams. “It's the second time that Rebekah Brooks has been arrested through this Operation Wheating, and we know that now brings up to 43 the number of people arrested.”
The latest twist of the tale follows last month's resignation of News International chairman James Murdoch, which prompted speculation that he knew more than he testified, while News International has confirmed that Mark Hanna, head of security for the Murdoch empire was also arrested bringing the total to five men and one woman.
Twelve years ago, Brooks first told a parliamentary committee “she knew nothing of the sort was going on at her newspaper…although at one point she did let slip that they had... they did pay police and then appeared to backtrack on that.”
Since then, although stories of the now shuttered News of the World hacking scandal have blazed in the headlines, not one person has been prosecuted, although a judicial inquiry in 2006, appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron forced Rupert Murdoch's company to reach cash settlements with a number of victims including actress Sienna Miller and singer Charlotte Church, but the breadth and depth of the scandal has yet to be uncovered.
The total number of people arrested in Operation Weeting is up to 44, while two other investigations, Operation Elveden into corrupt payments to police officers and Operation Tuleta into computer hacking continue. The BBC has created a Timeline of arrests.
The scandal derailed Murdoch’s BskyB deal, and had Sir Rupert commenting at the hearings, "This is the most humble day of my life," followed by eschewing responsibility. "The people I trusted and the people they trusted," should take the blame he said. "Perhaps I lost sight…I may have been lax for not asking more."
But the strangest moment in the hearings so far remains Wendi Murdoch swinging at protester activist Jonathan May Bowles when he hurled a shaving cream pie at her husband Rupert.
More on the latest turn of events for the News International and News Corp. media empire brands from Murdoch's WSJ.com below.