Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International and ex-editor of News of the World, has been charged with obstruction of justice in the U.K. phone-hacking investigation.
Brooks will be charged with three counts of "conspiracy to pervert the course of justice." Her husband, Charlie, will be charged with two. Four others—her personal assistant, her driver, her personal security guard and the former head of security of News International—will also face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service announced.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, the CPS said.
They are the first people charged in the phone-hacking scandal since investigators began their probe last summer.
The charges stem from their alleged attempts to conceal evidence last July during the police investigation into phone hacking at News International. Prosecutors say Brooks and her husband tried to dispose of a laptop and several boxes of documents related to the case. Brooks and her assistant, Cheryl Carter, are also accused of removing seven boxes of material from the archives of News International.
"We deplore this weak and unjust decision after the further unprecedented posturing of the [prosecutors]," Brooks' spokesman David Wilson said in a statement. "We will respond later today after our return from the police station."
Brooks, a favorite of News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, resigned in the wake of the phone-hacking allegations against News International. She was questioned and arrested by police last July and arrested again in March, but had not been charged until Tuesday.