UK PM`s former spin doctor pleads not guilty to phone hacking
Andy Coulson, PM David Cameron`s former media chief and ex-editor of Rupert Murdoch`s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, pleaded not guilty to phone hacking and bribing public officials.
London: Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron`s former media chief and ex-editor of Rupert Murdoch`s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to phone hacking and bribing public officials during his career as a journalist.
Coulson formally denied a charge of illegal interception of communications at Southwark Crown Court here and has been released on bail.
The former editor at Murdoch`s media empire also pleaded not guilty to two counts of misconduct in public office relating to alleged payments for information from public officials.
Coulson, 45, from south-east London, became deputy editor of the newspaper in 2000 and was editor from 2003 to 2007.
He was then appointed the Conservative Party`s director of communications and continued working for Prime Minister David Cameron in government after the 2010 election and was often referred to as the PM`s spin doctor by the British media.
He resigned in January 2011 as allegations of phone hacking between October 2000 and August 2006 emerged.
The first conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office charge relates to the period from August 2002 to January 2003, while the second allegedly took place between January and June 2005.
The charges were brought as part of Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard`s investigation of phone hacking, and Operation Elveden, its probe into alleged corrupt payments to public officials.
Coulson`s not guilty pleas came a day after former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband stood side by side in the dock as they formally denied charges of conspiracy linked to the phone hacking scandal.