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From The Guardian:

Three former News of the World employees have pleaded guilty to phone hacking charges, an Old Bailey jury was told this afternoon, as part of the opening of the trial of Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, Brooks's husband and four other former employees of the now closed Sunday newspaper.

The crown prosecutor revealed that the individuals had already pleaded guilty at an earlier stage in proceedings, as he outlined to the court that News of the World was at the centre of three criminal conspiracies dating back to the year 2000, involving the two former editors.

Andrew Edis QC said that those pleading guilty were former News of the World news editors Neville Thurlbeck, Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup. The court also heard that the private investigator contracted by the newspaper to undertake the alleged hacking, Glenn Mulcaire, had pleaded guilty.

Big h/t to a tweet from the awesome MP Tom Watson (also author of Dial M for Murdoch)

If the UK Justice System is anything like the American one, this is bad news for Rupert Murdoch. Once you have a number of defendants pleading guilty in a criminal case, not only do the remaining ones suddenly appear guilty, but there's the likelihood that the ones who plead out will 'roll' on the others.

Mulcaire's guilty plea is especially damning. He was Rupert's #1 phone hacker - jailed already once for hacking the phones of members of the Royal family, and also the guy who hacked Milly Dowler's phone. She was the abducted and murdered teen in the UK whose voicemail account activity gave her family and the police the misguided impression that she was still alive.

Update 1:

It appears our very own Brit was the first to tweet out this news:

BREAKING: Miskiw, Thurlbeck, Weatherup - News Editors have all pleaded guilty to count one " #hackingtrial
11:07 AM - 30 Oct 2013
In the comments below, Brit also added this:
Though there were many revelations (some detailed in forthcoming Daily Beast piece) and, I can assure, plenty more gripping headlines to come.
(my bold) :)

Update 2:

More from Brit in the comments:

People have also missed the significance of these. It's not just three NOTW employees...


Update 3:

10:05pm ET More details from an article in The Independent (UK), that went up about an hour ago:

On the second day of a trial that could last for six months, the court was told that three former NOTW journalists who were in charge of news operations at the Murdoch-owned Sunday tabloid had pleaded guilty to phone-hacking charges. The prosecution also said that Glenn Mulcaire, the hacking specialist regularly commissioned by the newspaper, had pleaded guilty to hacking the phone of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002.

In his opening address, the prosecutor Andrew Edis, QC, said that the guilty pleas from former newsdesk editors Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup and Greg Miskiw had been made at an earlier stage of legal proceedings. Mulcaire, who had been already been convicted of phone-hacking charges in 2007, the jury was told, was described to the court as the man hired by the now-closed Sunday paper because he was good at finding the codes that provided access to private voicemail messages.

All four pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to illegally intercept communications in the course of their transmission. The jury heard that previous admissions by News International had focused on a rogue reporter, namely the paper’s former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 along with Mulcaire.

Mr Edis said the earlier investigation by the Metropolitan Police had been “quite restricted”, but suggested the phone-hacking inquiry reopened two years ago had revealed “a lot more”. The jury heard that because Scotland Yard’s Operation Weeting investigation had now secured the convictions of the three news editors and Mulcaire, “it cannot... ever [be] suggested by anybody that phone-hacking at the NOTW was restricted to Mr Clive Goodman”. Mr Edis said the guilty pleas of the news editors “prove that there was a conspiracy” at the paper.

(my bold)
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