Three British journalists who were charged with hacking the phones of celebrities and others for a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid have pleaded guilty in advance of a trial, according to a prosecutor in London Wednesday.
Ex-news editor Greg Miskiw, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and former reporter James Weatherup faced charges that they eavesdropped on the voicemails of story subjects while they worked for the defunct News of the World.
Eight other former News employees -- including editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson -- will proceed as defendants in the trial, which includes charges that they made illegal payments to government officials for exclusives.
The journalists have denied the charges, but the pleas show "there was a conspiracy which involved a significant number of people," according to prosecutor Andrew Edis.
The trial began Wednesday as the prosecutor made arguments that the journalists cracked into voicemails by obtaining the password of the phones belonging to celebrities, politicians and crime victims.