Deadlocked phone-hacking jury discharged by judge

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Deadlocked phone-hacking jury discharged by judge
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Former government director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson arrives at Old Bailey on June 23, 2014 in London, England. Coulson and the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks arrive at the Old Bailey on June 16, 2014 in London, England. Downing Street's former director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson and the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks arrive at the Old Bailey on June 23, 2014 in London, England. Downing Street's former director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson and the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks arrive at the Old Bailey on June 16, 2014 in London, England. Downing Street's former director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson and the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson arrives at Old Bailey on June 16, 2014 in London, England. Downing Street's former director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson and the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: Charlie Brooks and Rebekah Brooks arrive at the Old Bailey on April 15, 2014 in London, England. Former government director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, arrives at the Old Bailey on March 31, 2014 in London, England. Former government director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Charlie Brooks, husband of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, arrives at the Old Bailey on March 31, 2014 in London, England. Former government director of communications and News Of The World editor Andy Coulson and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, along with six others, face a series of charges linked to the phone hacking of celebrities and others at the now-defunct newspaper. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive arrives for the phone-hacking trial at the Old Bailey court in London on January 15, 2014. Eight defendants are on trial in the case, including former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. They all deny the charges, which arise from the scandal that shut the News of the World in July 2011. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Mark Hanna, former head of security at News International, arrives for the phone-hacking trial at the Old Bailey court in London on January 15, 2014. Eight defendants, including Hanna and former editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, are on trial in the blockbuster case which arose from the scandal that shut the News of the World in July 2011. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 30: Tommy Sheridan makes a statement outside his home after the announcement that former News of The World editor Andy Coulson has beed detained on suspicion of perjury, on May 30, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. Coulson, 44, was detained by officers from Strathclyde Police on suspicion of committing perjury during the 2010 trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
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By JILL LAWLESS
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday dismissed the jury at Britain's phone-hacking trial after it failed to reach a verdict on two final counts, having convicted a former editor of hacking a day earlier.

Judge John Saunders ended the trial after jurors said they could not agree whether former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and ex-royal editor Clive Goodman were guilty of paying police officers for royal phone directories.

On Tuesday the jury unanimously convicted Coulson of conspiring to hack phones. Ex-editor Rebekah Brooks and four others were acquitted.

Prosecutors said they would announce on Monday whether they would seek a retrial.

Coulson, who served as Prime Minister David Cameron's spin doctor between 2007 and 2011, faces up to two years in jail on the hacking charge.

The jury of eight women and three men deliberated for eight days, after a trial lasting almost eight months that drew intense interest from around the world.

Saunders told the 11 jurors that the country owed them "a great debt of gratitude," and exempted them from further jury service for life.

The trial - one of the longest and most expensive in British history - was triggered by revelations that the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World had routinely eavesdropped on the voicemails of politicians, celebrities and others in the public eye.

Coulson's lawyers repeatedly sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that their client could not receive a fair trial given the vast amount of comment and speculation about the case.

Their latest attempt came Wednesday, after Prime Minister David Cameron made a televised apology for hiring Coulson.

Saunders said he wrote to Cameron's private secretary seeking an explanation "as to why he had issued his statement when the jury were still considering verdicts."

The judge did not throw out the case but said it was "unsatisfactory so far as justice and the rule of law are concerned ... when politicians regard it as open season."

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