The long-awaited criminal trial of former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, who face conspiracy charges related to hacking the phones of murder victims and celebrities alike, is slated for this September. According to a rumor spreading around News Corp, things could get salacious.
Sources tell Gawker that during the discovery process, emails were unearthed suggesting that Brooks had, at various times, had sex with Coulson, her boss Rupert Murdoch, and Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert’s son and the likely successor to his empire. A new twist on honor thy father.
In one of the emails, Brooks purportedly discussed the size of Coulson’s penis. It’s not clear if her estimation of his member was favorable or not.
In response to questions from Gawker, Steve Rubinstein, a spokesperson for the Murdoch family, said unequivocally, "There is no truth to these rumors." The lawyers representing
Brooks and Coulson did not respond to requests for comment sent yesterday.
Whether the rumor is true or not, it is definitely circulating widely at high levels in the company. Three sources shared the claim of a sexual relationship between Brooks and Rupert Murdoch with Gawker; all three said they had learned the information through lawyers involved in the case. Two of those three sources are high-ranking executives at News Corp. The latter two sources had also both been told of a relationship between Lachlan and Brooks.
Rumors of the Coulson-Brooks affair have been floating around the Internet since last month when a vague report in The Daily Mail alluded to a “dynamite” sex scandal that prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to hold crisis talks at Downing Street.
The prime minister's connection to the pair is two-fold.
During the trial, Brooks will be represented by his brother Alexander Cameron. Meanwhile, Coulson's first job after after resigning as editor of News of the World was as director of communications for Cameron's Conservative Party. His next gig was as the top spokesman for Downing Street, before the scandal forced him to resign.
Rupert Murdoch’s relationship with Brooks has been closely scrutinized over the years. In the midst of the escalating phone-hacking scandal in 2011, Murdoch told reporters Brooks was his first priority, just before the smiling pair walked into the Stafford Hotel opposite his London apartment. Wendi Deng, Murdoch’s soon-to-be-ex-wife, is widely-known to despise Brooks, who was granted a $2.7 million payoff and chauffeured limousine as a reward for her loyalty.
“Although Murdoch has four daughters, two of them grown, over the years he has seemed closer to Brooks than to any of them. She was, people say, like the fantasy daughter, the daughter he always wished he had—the one who never argued with him, who devoted her life to pleasing him. They reportedly swim together in the mornings when he is in London. She fusses over him at dinner parties—making sure he’s eating, that his wineglass is full. “She’s very attentive,” says one News International executive.”
According to our sources, the damning emails are expected to come out as evidence during the trial. Although the affairs are being gossiped about around British newspaper circles, the country’s stringent legal culture when it comes to reporting on criminal prosecutions and upcoming trials has, thus far, kept it out of the press.
When the Daily Mail reported the mystery affair in June, the papers' refusal to name names was attributed to a “super injunction,” which both prevents newspaper from publishing information and from discussing the injunction.
Nonetheless, some natives persisted.
The British blogger Paul Staines, who writes under pseudonym "Guido Fawkes,” dropped a hint that the sex scandal concerned Brooks and Coulson. Another British blogger named Tom Winnifrith also pointed the finger at the Brooks and Coulson:
“The reason the Government and David Cameron personally is terrified about this appearing is that he appointed Coulson as his spin doctor in chief instead of a safer pair of hands from the BBC on the advice of….the charming Rebekah. Rebekah was a good pal of his, lending him her horse to ride as they partied together in rural Oxfordshire. LOL.
And of course Rebekah’s lawyer is….David Cameron’s big brother Alex.
Then there's the High Court of Stealth Online Stalking. Google: “Rebekah Brooks sle—” and you’ll get a prompt for the phrase “rebekah brooks sleeping with murdoch.” In a similar vein, the second prompt for “Rebekah Brooks affair” is “Rebekah Brooks affair Andy Coulson.” For our final search engine straw: “Rebekah Brooks ru—” will make Google wonder if you were searching for: “Rebekah Brooks Rupert Murdoch affair.”
We’ll have to wait until September for more substantial evidence.
Correction: Brooks has never been represented by Alexander Cameron, but she has been represented in the past by an attorney who is a member of Cameron's legal chambers. While we contacted that chambers, we did not contact Brooks' criminal attorney before publishing this story.
Update: We just recieved this email from Brooks' attorneys:
Dear Ms Tiku
I act for Mrs Rebekah Brooks in her forthcoming trial before the Central Criminal Court.
I have today had my attention drawn to a piece on your website which is appearing now in the UK. The piece contains a number of false and scurrilous accusations. No prior notice was provided to me by you of an intention to publish this piece.
I have this evening referred the matter to the Attorney-General of England and Wales as publication of the piece of this nature in the UK before a trial constitutes the serious criminal offence of Contempt of Court. The matter has also been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service and the Trial Judge. No publication of any material that might prejudice a trial is allowed in the UK and the offence is punishable with a substantial sentence of imprisonment.
Please ensure and confirm that the piece is to removed immediately in order to mitigate any damage already done.
[Image via AP]