Rupert Murdoch's one-time right-hand woman Rebekah Brooks, and Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-spin chief Andy Coulson, face "a realistic prospect of conviction" of alleged phone-hacking offences, the Crown Prosecution Service said this morning.
Erstwhile News International boss Brooks, who had edited the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World - which was the Sunday redtop at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Murdoch's media empire - will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority.
The CPS added that this charge applies to six other suspects - including Coulson who also held an editor tenure at the NotW. The allegations cover a period between 3 October, 2000 and 9 August, 2006.
The full list of suspects facing prosecution are journalists named by the CPS as: Brooks, Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup.
Private detective Glenn Mulcaire will be charged with unlawfully intercepting communications, rather than conspiring to intercept, the CPS said. It added that a total of 19 charges have been brought against the suspects.
"The communications in question are the voicemail messages of well-known people and/or those associated with them," said Alison Levitt QC, who is the principal legal advisor to the director of public prosecutions.
"There is a schedule containing the names of over 600 people whom the prosecution will say are the victims of this offence," she added.
All of the suspects face additional conspiracy charges relating to phone hacking.
Levitt then pointed to a long list of victims that included murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, MPs such as David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jude Law and Delia Smith.
Prosecutors had mulled over bringing charges against 11 suspects in the phone-hacking saga under Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting investigation.
However, Levitt concluded that there was "insufficient evidence" against three of those individuals, meaning that there was no "realistic prospect of conviction".
She said: "It follows that no further action will be taken in relation to them."
Two other suspects are being investigated by detectives, who have asked Levitt to defer making her decision while further enquiries are made. ®
Click to the next page to see the full charge sheet released by the CPS.