Tulisa Constostavlos drugs trial: 'Fake Sheikh' denies singer's claims he spiked her drink in 'complete manipulation', court hears
"The motive here is in the public interest to expose criminality," Mr Mahmood told the court under cross-examination by Ms. Contostavlos’ barrister
Mazher Mahmood, known as the "fake Sheikh", branded Tulisa Contostavlos’s claims that he spiked her drink during one of their set-up meetings "absolutely outrageous".
The undercover reporter, who cleared London’s Southwark Crown Court in order to remain anonymous when he took to the stands to give evidence behind a screen, had posed as a wealthy film producer called Samir Khan when he met up with the former X Factor judge at a number of luxury venues.
As part of the sting that Mr Mahmood claims aimed to "expose criminality" about an alleged drug deal, Ms. Contostavlos was told she was being considered for a £3.5million lead role in a movie that was tipped for an Academy Award. The Slumdog Millionaire-style film would also star Leonardo DiCaprio, the reporter apparently informed her.
"The motive here is in the public interest to expose criminality," Mr Mahmood told the court under cross-examination by Ms. Contostavlos’ barrister, Jeremy Dein QC, denying that his purpose was to create a "sensational story".
"You misled her, didn't you?" Mr Dein asked.
"You can't mislead somebody into supplying cocaine," Mr Mahmood replied.
Mr Dein went on to suggest that Mr Mahmood and his colleague, known as “Nish”, had spiked Contostavlos’ drink on 10 May 2013, when they met at the Metropolitan hotel in London.
"Absolutely outrageous," Mr Mahmood replied.
"You got her to incriminate herself," Mr Dein continued.
"I think that is nonsense," Mr Mahmood countered.
"This was only the beginning of your manipulation of Ms Contostavlos," Mr Dein went on, referencing Mr Mahmood’s meeting with Ms. Contostavlos in Las Vegas in March 2013.
"I disagree," the journalist replied.
Ms. Contostavlos, who is on trial for allegedly brokering a £820 sale of cocaine, shook her head as she sat in the glass-walled dock listening to Mahmood’s evidence.
She vehemently denies brokering the deal, which was exposed in the Sun on Sunday newspaper in June 2013.
Rapper Mike GLC, whose real name is Michael Coombs, 36, pleaded guilty to supplying half an ounce (13.9g) of cocaine on Monday (14 July).
The trial continues.
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