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Ex-Editor Gets 18 Months In U.K. Phone Hacking Case

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who was found guilty last week of conspiracy to hack personal voicemails, was jailed Friday for 18 months.

NPR's Ari Shapiro is reporting on the case for our Newscast unit. Here's what he said:

"During sentencing, the judge said phone hacking by journalists at Rupert Murdoch's News International picked up 'intensely personal' messages that caused people 'serious distress.'

"Four people who used to work for the paper News of the World received sentences for their role in the scandal. ... Coulson got the longest sentence of any of them. ... Five other defendants were cleared of charges."

The scandal broke in 2010, forcing Coulson to resign as British Prime Minister David Cameron's communications director. Last week, Cameron apologized for hiring Coulson. On Friday, he said the 18-month sentence showed that "no one is above the law."

The trial lasted eight months, and saw Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief, cleared last week of all misconduct.

Coulson, as Ari reports, still faces a retrial on charges he bought royal telephone directories from police officers.

The Guardian reports that he faced two years in prison, but was given a reduced sentence "for his previous good character."

"He could be out in less than nine months because, as a non-violent offender, he is required to serve just half his sentence," the newspaper reported.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.