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The saga has also tarnished the reputation of many whom, like British Olympics Secretary Jeremy Hunt, were sympathetic to News Corp.’s far-flung interests.

Among those charged Tuesday were some of the News of the World’s best-known and most senior journalists. Prosecutors named Stuart Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup and Ian Edmondson. Mulcaire, whose extensive notes have long been at the center of the scandal, is also being prosecuted.

Miskiw and Weatherup are accused of intercepting the messages of actor Jude Law, along with associates of his ex-wife Sadie Frost and former girlfriend Sienna Miller.

Edmondson and Weatherup are accused of spying on former Beatle Paul McCartney, his ex-wife Heather Mills, and politicians including former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Thurlbeck and Weatherup, meanwhile, are alleged to have eavesdropped on associates of Jolie and Pitt, one of Hollywood’s most famous couples.

Brooks, Coulson and Thurlbeck all promised Tuesday to fight the charges.

Brooks, who resigned as chief executive of News International after the Dowler story broke, said she was “distressed and angry.” She called the allegation that she conspired to spy on Milly “particularly upsetting.” Coulson insisted he would never have done anything to harm the investigation into Milly’s disappearance.

Thurlbeck, meanwhile, said he would make it clear that he always acted “under the strict guidance and advice of News International’s lawyers and under the instructions of the newspaper’s editors.”

The phone hacking fallout is far from finished.

As the charges were revealed, Justice Brian Leveson announced the end of his long-running inquiry into the culture and practices of Britain’s press, which was set up in the wake of the hacking scandal. He said he would release his recommendations as soon as possible, although that is expected to be months from now.

Police also continue chasing leads.

Scotland Yard’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers said Monday that detectives are seeking evidence from two newspaper companies that are rivals of Murdochs’ and looking into more than 100 claims of computer hacking, improper access to medical records and other misconduct stemming from the scandal.