Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of News International, was charged by UK prosecutors with trying to cover up the tabloid phone-hacking scandal.
Brooks, 43, faces three charges for perverting the course of justice, Alison Levitt, the principal legal advisor to Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions, said in a statement in London today.
Brooks' husband, Charlie, a former racehorse trainer, was also charged.
The charge, which can be related to destroying evidence or deliberately misleading a court or investigation, carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, according to prosecutors.
Brooks' personal assistant, Cheryl Carter; the former head of security at News International, Mark Hanna; Brooks' chauffeur, Paul Edwards, and former News International security guard Daryl Jorsling were also charged in the cover-up, Ms Levitt said.
Brooks conspired ''to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service,'' and ''to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International,'' in the police investigations into phone hacking and bribery of public officials by journalists at the News of the World and The Sun tabloids.
Brooks and her husband said they ''deplore this weak and unjust decision", in a statement today after the CPS told them they would be charged.
"After the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS, we will respond later today after our return from the police station,'' they said in the statement distributed by their spokesman, David Wilson.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided ''there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction'' in regards to the defendants, Ms Levitt said.
Prosecutors received evidence from the Metropolitan Police on March 27 in relation to seven suspects. A seventh, who provided security for Brooks on behalf of News International, wasn't charged.
The charges are the first to be laid since police launched a new inquiry into phone hacking in January 2011.