Given how fast the revelations about phone hacking at UK tabloid News of the World have spread into a full-blown crisis for all of News Corporation (NSDQ: NWS), it may have come as no surprise to see Rebekah Brooks get arrested on Sunday — making her the tenth person taken into custody over the scandal. But today her lawyers played up that she has not been charged with any crime.
Lawyer Stephen Parkinson, speaking on behalf of Brooks this morning, noted that while she was in custody, Brooks was not told what allegations there were against her:
“In time [police] will have to give their account of their actions, in particular their decision to arrest her with the enormous reputational damage this has involved… She is not guilty of any criminal offense.”
Brooks was in custody for nine hours until she was released on bail, writes Bloomberg.
Until last Friday Brooks had been chief executive of News International, the UK newspaper division of News Corp. Before then she had been editor of News of the World, with her tenure covering the period when some of the alleged illegal activities occurred.
The lack of charges will mean that Brooks has a strong case for bringing her own suit against the Metropolitan Police over the event for the damage that it might do to her reputation. Over the weekend, the PR firm Bell Pottinger was appointed to manage affairs on her behalf, with chairman David Wilson acting as her spokesperson. Last week, Edelman was appointed to handle crisis PR for News Corp.
Her lawyer confirmed that she still plans to appear tomorrow before the Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, which is planning to question her, James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch over the hacking scandal.
Meanwhile, today brought yet another resignation in the hacking/corruption affair: assistant police commissioner John Yates has resigned. Looks like he jumped before he was pushed: The Guardian notes that the Met’s disciplinary committee this morning had signaled its intention to suspend him over allegations of his connection to Neil Wallis, the ex-reporter who has also been arrested in connection with the scandal.