LONDON - An ashen-faced Rebekah Brooks has launched a withering attack on the authorities after being charged with perverting the course of justice over the phone-hacking scandal.
The ex-News of the World editor, her husband Charlie and four others will stand trial for plotting to hide evidence.
The 43-year-old former News International chief executive faces three separate allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - an offence that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
"I am baffled by the decision to charge me today," she said defiantly, standing alongside her husband outside their lawyers' offices in central London.
"However more importantly I cannot express my anger enough that those closest to me have been dragged into this unfairly.
"One day the details of this case will emerge and people will see today as nothing more than an expensive sideshow, a waste of public money as a result of an unjust and weak decision."
Brooks was alleged to have removed seven boxes of material from News International archives and concealed documents and computers from officers investigating phone hacking.
The illegal activities were alleged to have taken place in the frantic days last July when News Corp supremo Rupert Murdoch decided to shut down the tainted Sunday tabloid following a tidal wave of public disgust over hacking.
Murdoch announced the decision to close the top-selling paper on July 7 last year.
Alison Levitt, from Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions, said the alleged offences took place between July 6 and July 19.