The twelve jurors in Britain’s phone-hacking trial against several staffers of the shuttered Murdoch tabloid News of the World were told on Thursday that former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both charged with several counts of conspiracy to intercept communications and impede a police investigation, had maintained a six-year-long affair over the course of their employment at News International. The relationship apparently lasted between 1998 and 2004, during which both were married to other people.

Gawker reported in July that prosecutors had discovered evidence during pre-trial discovery that, along with Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, Coulson had had an affair with Brooks.

This development is likely to further embarrass the administration of Prime Minister David Cameron, under whom Coulson served as communications director between May 2010 and early 2011, when he resigned amid his own administration’s heightened scrutiny of his former employer’s aggressive news-gathering tactics, allegedly authorized by both Brooks and Coulson. In June The Daily Mail reported that the Prime Minister’s cabinet was rocked by a “stunning” sex scandal among unnamed individuals close to the British leader.

The jurors also learned today that News of the World targeted Paul McCartney and his then-wife Heather Mills using the aforementioned phone-hacking techniques. Whose phone was hacked, however, remains unclear.

[Photo credit: Associated Press]