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Tulisa Contostavlos trial: ‘Fake sheikh’ given privacy as court cleared

Mazher Mahmood, an undercover reporter for the Sun on Sunday, gave evidence from behind a screen

The court hearing the case against Tulisa Contostavlos was cleared yesterday as an undercover reporter gave evidence, in accordance with his wishes.

Mazher Mahmood, who told the singer he was an Indian film producer called Samir Khan, gave evidence from behind a screen at the trial, in which she is accused of helping supply cocaine. He has been dubbed the “fake sheikh”.

At Southwark Crown Court yesterday (July 16), journalists and members of the public were told to briefly leave the court while he entered the room to ensure his anonymity.

Mahmood was working for the Sun on Sunday when he told Contostavlos that she could star in a “big production” with Leonardo DiCaprio and that she was “more suitable” to his film than Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet. They met in locations such as Las Vegas and Mayfair.

The court heard that She said that she could help supply him with “white sweets” – which Mahmood suggested was her code for cocaine – and allegedly brokered a deal – helping supply 0.5oz cocaine to the reporter at the Dorchester Hotel for £860 last May – allegations that she denies.

Mahmood alleges that the singer first raised the topic of drugs.

“She brought it up with the words to the effect that she would go home tonight and have a drink and she might have cannabis to go to sleep,” he told the court.

The case continues.