Max Clifford, the celebrity publicist who made his name helping the most famous people to salvage their reputation, is battling to save his career after he was charged with committing 11 indecent assaults in a period spanning two decades.
In an emotional statement outside his home last night, the 70-year-old denied the charges and vowed to clear his name, describing the past four months as a “24/7 nightmare”.
He said: “I have never indecently assaulted anyone in my life and this will become clear during the course of the proceedings.”
The 11 charges relate to offences allegedly committed between 1966 and 1985. They have come as a result of Operation Yewtree, the police investigation set up in the wake of revelations of sexual offences carried out by Jimmy Savile.
The catalogue of charges alleges an assault on a 14-year-old girl in 1966; a 15-year-old girl in 1977-78; a girl aged 16 or 17 in 1981; two 18-year-old women in 1974-75; and two 19-year-old women, one in 1978 and another in 1980-81.
Mr Clifford was previously arrested at his home in Surrey in December on suspicion of sexual offences. Shortly after his arrest, he said that no children had been involved in the police investigation relating to him.
He said: “The allegations in respect of which I have been charged are completely false and I have made this clear to the police during many, many hours of interviews.
“I am naturally disappointed about today’s decision, particularly because of the distress it has caused my wife, Jo, my daughter, Louise, and all those close to me.
“However, at least I will now be in a position to fully consider all the evidence against me and to answer the evidence in public and ultimately clear my name in a court of law.
Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, said: “We have carefully considered the evidence gathered as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Max Clifford, who was initially arrested on 6 December 2012 over allegations of sexual offences.
“Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Clifford to be charged with 11 offences of indecent assault relating to seven complainants.”
The publicist is scheduled to appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on 28 May. Indecent assault carries a potential sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
As part of Operation Yewtree, police have been looking into categories of alleged offences: those involving only Savile; those involving Savile and others; and those which had no direct link to Savile. Mr Clifford is understood to have been arrested as part of the third strand.
The list of charges:
* One offence of indecent assault relating to a girl aged 14 in 1966.
* One offence of indecent assault relating to a woman aged 18 in 1974/75.
* Three offences of indecent assault relating to a girl aged 15 in 1977/78.
* One offence of indecent assault relating to a woman aged 19 in 1978.
* Two offences of indecent assault relating to a girl aged 16 or 17 in 1981/82.
* One offence of indecent assault relating to a woman aged 19 in 1980/81.
* Two offences of indecent assault relating to a woman aged 18 in 1984/85.
Clifford has denied any wrongdoing.