LONDON — Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks admitted in court Thursday that she sometimes paid public officials for information, but insisted she only did so when it was in the public interest.
The ex-chief of Rupert Murdoch's U.K. newspapers had authorized payments "half a dozen" times.
"My view at the time was that there had to be an overwhelming public interest to justify payments in the very narrow circumstances of a public official being paid for information directly in line with their jobs," she said.
Brooks said the definition of public interest was "very subjective" and varied with each media organization.
"Each newspaper has its own interpretation," she said.
Brooks said she didn't know the name of a defense ministry source The Sun had paid for stories over a period of eight years. The Sun is part of the Murdoch news group she headed and she served as the tabloid's top editor from 2003 until 2009.
She denies conspiracy to hack phones, bribe officials and obstruct police, charges that stem from the phone-hacking scandal that led Murdoch to shut down the best-selling News of the World in 2011.
Six other defendants also deny a variety of charges.