Leslie agrees £550,000 deal with 'Daily Express'

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The Independent Online

John Leslie has agreed an exclusive deal with the Daily Express worth a reported £550,000 to put his side of the story about the allegations of sexual assault which have dogged him for eight months.

The newspaper, owned by Richard Desmond, triumphed in a fierce bidding war which will allow the story to be shared with the Daily Star, the Express's sister title.

Bids for an exclusive deal have been made in the past few days after it emerged that the Crown Prosecution Service is about to drop the case against Leslie due to lack of evidence.

The television presenter has refused to comment since the allegations were made. But if he is cleared he may take legal action against Channel 5 after Matthew Wright publicly linked him during his chat show last October with allegations made in Ulrika Jonsson's autobiography, Honest. Jonsson claimed she had been date-raped by another TV presenter in the 1980s, although she failed to name her alleged assailant.

As speculation mounted over the man's identity, Wright named Leslie on his show, The Wright Stuff, opening the way for other media organisations to name him.