Looks like Rupert Murdoch accepted the resignation of his company’s chief executive just in time to be off the hook for her bail. London police arrested Rebekah Brooks, who resigned as the leader of News International on Friday, on suspicion of corruption and conspiracy charges, the tenth News International employee to be arrested in the probe:
The police issued a statement that they had arrested a 10th person in the case, a 43-year-old woman, but would not confirm her identity. Sources have confirmed to CBS News that the woman is Brooks, who stepped down Friday as head of Murdoch’s British newspapers.
Police said the woman was arrested at a London police station at noon Sunday by appointment. She is being questioned on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and suspicion of corruption.
The timing of the arrest is curious, to say the least. Not only did Brooks just resign under a great deal of pressure from the public, but she is also due to give testimony to a committee in Parliament on Tuesday, according to the CBS report. One might assume that arresting Brooks would put a crimp in her ability or desire to appear before Parliament on the matter. If she’s under criminal investigation, the last thing Brooks will want to do is give testimony that could easily prove incriminating in court.
Or, perhaps, this might give the Parliament a reason to offer her immunity from prosecution in exchange for comprehensive testimony about what took place at News of the World and other Murdoch operations. Her arrest within hours of her resignation and within hours of her scheduled appearance before Parliament seems very strange. Unless she was a flight risk, prosecutors would have been far better off waiting until she spoke publicly, presumably under oath as well, to the British legislature, the better to cull those incriminating and contradictory statements for a later trial. The fact that the arrest was made “by appointment” might be another indicator of an arrangement, although it could be that Brooks’ resignation came after authorities made their plans to arrest and prosecute known to Brooks, too.
At any rate, the curious and embarrassing scandal at News International deepens with this arrest, and it might mean that the offenses weren’t limited at all to News of the World — and that may prompt questions of Murdoch, whose desire to rescue Brooks seems even more curious now.