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Former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis acquitted of phone hacking

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LONDON — The former deputy editor of the News of the World has been acquitted of conspiring to hack phones when he worked at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid.

Neil Wallis broke down in tears as a London jury announced the verdict Wednesday.

His former editor, Andy Coulson, was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year for conspiring to hack phones. Prosecutors argued it was inconceivable Wallis did not know about the practice. Wallis denied involvement.

Wallis is the last employee of the tabloid to face trial over illegal eavesdropping on the phones of celebrities and people in the public eye. Eight have been convicted.

Murdoch shut down the News of the World in 2011 after the revelation that it had hacked the phone of a 13-year-old murder victim.

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