Rebekah Brooks expected to begin phone-hacking defence this morning

Former tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks is expected to begin her defence against a string of allegations at the phone-hacking trial today.

Prosecutors at the Old Bailey finished presenting their case yesterday, three-and-a-half months after the trial opened.

Former News International chief executive Brooks and her one-time lover Andy Coulson, who succeeded her as editor of the now-defunct News of the World, are among those standing trial.

The pair deny charges that include an alleged conspiracy to hack the telephones of celebrities, royals and politicians, as well as authorising the payment of public officials for information.

The court heard evidence yesterday that former prime minister Tony Blair apparently offered to be an "unofficial adviser" to Brooks, days before she was arrested as part of the investigation in 2011.

He also suggested taking sleeping pills and advised her to "tough up", according to an email she sent to James Murdoch, apparently informing him of the hour-long conversation she had with the former Labour leader.

Brooks, 45, Coulson, 46, former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, Brooks' former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, Brooks' racehorse trainer husband Charles Brooks, 50, head of security at News International Mark Hanna, 50, and ex-News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73, deny all charges.

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