It is the now-vindicated Brooks who has been the focus of most attention in what one lawyer called the "trial of the century." The case drew intense media and public interest from around the world. Brooks, in particular has been the subject of a level of media fascination and online abuse that her lawyer called a "witch hunt."
From humble origins in northern England, Brooks rose to become chief executive of Murdoch's influential British newspaper division and was a friend and neighbor of the prime minister as part of the horse-riding "Chipping Norton set," a reference to the tony rural town near her home. Friends included Cameron and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who offered advice as the scandal erupted: "It will pass. Tough up."