Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch appear to be thisclose again. British press reports Friday said that Brooks has agreed to return to her former post as head of News Corp’s newspaper division, and News Corp wasn’t denying it: “As we have said, we have been having discussions with Rebekah Brooks and when we have any announcements to make we will let you know,” a News Corp spokesman told the Financial Times today.
Brooks resigned four years ago in the wake of a hacking scandal that brought down the News Of The World tabloid — which she had once helmed as editor in chief — and shook the Murdoch empire to its core. Followiong an 18-month trial, she was acquitted of charges in the matter and reportedly has been spotted in New York with Murdoch, her champion and, by all accounts, mentor. Brooks also was reputedly close to the last three British prime ministers. According to the FT, Brooks was given £16 million after resigning, mostly to cover her legal fees related to the case. Her successor at NOTW, Andy Coulson, did not fare so well, having served 18 months in prison.
News Corp continues to feel the effects of the scandal, which began in 2006, when the former royals editor, Clive Goodman, and his investigator Glenn Mulcaire, admitted they had hacked the phones of royal aides. Later it was revealed that NOTW had hacked into the voicemail of a murdered teenager. Further investigation found that the hacking extended to politicians, police and celebrities. The Guardian reported today that News Corp may yet face “corporate charges” against the company and estimates that News Corp has already spent $500 million between defense and settlements stemming from the first round of hacking accusations.