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Ex-News of the World editor in court over 'bribery'

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, a one-time top aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron, appeared in court in London Friday on bribery charges.

Coulson, 45, is accused of requesting and authorising payments to public officials in exchange for information, including contact details for the royal family.

He is charged alongside Clive Goodman, the former royal correspondent for the News of the World (NOTW), the weekly tabloid shut down by Rupert Murdoch in 2011 amid a wave of public revulsion over phone hacking.

Their case -- subject to reporting restrictions imposed by the court -- was adjourned to a later date.

Rebekah Brooks, 44, another former NOTW editor who rose to become chief executive of Murdoch's British newspaper unit News International, also appeared in court on Friday and her case was adjourned to another date.

John Kay, the chief reporter for Murdoch's The Sun daily tabloid, meanwhile Friday pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

The cases -- all subject to reporting restrictions -- were brought as part of a police investigation into alleged inappropriate payments and information leaks, which runs alongside a probe into phone hacking.

The hacking scandal rocked Murdoch's media empire and embarrassed Cameron, who is friends with Brooks and also hired Coulson as his communications chief.

Separately, a former police officer, Alan Tierney, on Friday admitted selling information to The Sun about the arrests of Chelsea football captain John Terry's mother and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

The information concerned Sue Terry and Sue Poole -- the mother and mother-in-law of the former England skipper who had been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting and were given police cautions.

Wood was arrested on suspicion of beating up his Russian lover Ekaterina Ivanova. He also accepted a caution.

Also separately, another public official, prison officer Richard Trunkfield, 31, admitted in court to leaking information about a high-profile inmate to The Sun.

In two other separate cases, two officials admitted misconduct in public office.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130308/ex-news-the-world-editor-court-over-bribery