Rebekah Brooks has expressed her bewilderment and launched a defiant attack against police and prosecutors after it was announced that she is to face criminal charges over the phone hacking scandal.
The former News International chief executive said allegations that she, her husband and four others plotted to hide evidence were "an expensive sideshow and a waste of public money".
She also challenged the integrity of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to charge her with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
In a statement made outside her solicitor's London office, the former Sun and News of the World editor said: "Although I understand the need for a thorough investigation, I am baffled by the decision to charge me. However I cannot express my anger enough that those close to me have unfairly been dragged into this. Whilst I have always respected the criminal justice system, I have to question today whether this decision was made on a proper impartial assessment of the evidence."
The 43-year-old and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie stood side-by-side yesterday after being charged in an hour long meeting with Operation Weeting detectives.
Mr Brooks branded the decision as an attempt to brand him and others as scapegoats and said he believed his wife was the subject of a witch hunt.
The couple will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on June 13 alongside her former PA, Cheryl Carter and chauffeur Paul Edwards charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Mark Hanna, head of security at News International and security consultant Daryl Jorsling also face single counts of conspiring with her.
Mrs Brooks, listed on a police indictment as "unemployed" of Churchill, Oxfordshire, was charged with three counts, including that she removed boxes of material from the News International archive and tried to conceal documents, computers and other material from the multimillion-pound Scotland Yard inquiry.
The charges are the first to be brought following Scotland Yard's multimillion-pound investigations into phone-hacking, computer hacking and corruption, which have led to 50 arrests since they began in January last year.