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UK Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-media chief Andy Coulson and a former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks appear at Westminster Magistrates Court over new charges of conspiracy.
Coulson has been charged with conspiring to pay officials for private information on the royal family during his time as News of the World editor. Brooks will face charges of conspiring to authorize payments of around £100,000 to a member of the Ministry of Defense to generate stories.
Both defendants have already appeared before Westminster magistrates in connection with the UK's phone-hacking scandal, in which several employees of the News International run tabloid were accused of exercising improper influence in pursuit of stories.
New charges are a blow to the reputation of David Cameron, who has been standing behind the UK's two most connected media executives since the scandal exploded in Britain last year.
"This is a man [Cameron] with a red face over Coulson that is now turning from crimson to scarlet," said Roy Greenslade, author of several books on the British press and a former senior editor at the Sun.
Former Royal correspondent of the News of the World Clive Goodman is also expected to be charged with conspiring to pay public officials for the so-called Green Book of Royal contact details.