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News of the World's Rebekah Brooks arrested with husband

Rebekah Brooks and her husband were arrested today on suspicion of attempting to thwart Scotland Yard's investigation into last year's phone-hacking scandal.

By Correspondent / March 13, 2012

In this July 2011 file photo, former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks leaves a hotel in central London. Brooks has been arrested by police for a second time Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Sang Tan/AP/File

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Rebekah Brooks, the former executive editor of the now-defunct News of the World who was forced to resign amid this summer's phone hacking scandal, has been arrested by police for a second time, according to the Associated Press

The arrest of Mrs. Brooks and her husband – along with new testimony highlighting the questionably tight relationship between Scotland Yard and the News of the World – threatens to once again ensnare Prime Minister David Cameron, who is friends with the couple, in corruption scandal.

Brooks and her husband, racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, are among six people arrested today on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in connection with Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting, the investigation into the phone hacking that went on at the News of the World and may have occurred at other British tabloids, The Guardian reports. Two noneditorial employees of News International, the Murdoch-owned parent company of News of the World, were also arrested – one of whom is reported to be Mark Hanna, News International's head of security, the Financial Times reports. 

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Brooks and her husband were reportedly arrested near their Oxfordshire home and taken to separate police stations for questioning, according to The Telegraph. The Week of Britain writes that the questioning is "thought likely to center on reports last year that after Rebekah Brooks was first arrested [in July 2011] over alleged phone-hacking, her husband tried to reclaim a bag containing a laptop computer, mobile phone and private papers." 

In that incident, the bag was discovered in a garage dumpster under a gated community where Brooks owns an apartment. After community security handed the bag over to police, Brooks's husband attempted to reclaim the bag, saying that it had been mistakenly thrown away by cleaners. 

And today in the Leveson inquiry, the public inquiry into British press culture, it was revealed that NotW crime editor Lucy Panton wrote a story about a former police commander on a computer in Scotland Yard's press office, and gave Dick Fedorcio, the Metropolitan Police's director of public affairs, an advance read of the story, the Guardian reports. Ms. Panton also reportedly used the director's email address to send the story to the NotW office.  Mr. Fedorcio said that he was trying to help Panton, but that he "accept[s] it may have been an error of judgment" to let her use Met computers and e-mail to report her story.

Rebekah and Charlie Brooks's arrests and the news from the Leveson inquiry threaten to once again turn up the heat on Prime Minister Cameron, who has already come under fire for his close ties to the former News International executive's family.  Just a few weeks ago, the British media was astir over "Horsegate" – the discovery that Rebekah Brooks received a retired police horse from the Met, which lived on her estate until 2010.

The incident, which Rebekah Brooks's spokesman described as an act of charity, underscored her close relationship with the Met, some officers of which were reportedly bribed for information by News of the World and other tabloid publications.

Cameron, who is set to meet with President Obama this week, has not commented on the latest arrests.  A Downing Street spokeswoman told the Telegraph that "The Prime Minister is travelling to Washington. It is an operational matter for the police. You wouldn't expect him to comment on it."

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