Tulisa Trial: Reporter Denies Spiking Drink
An undercover journalist has denied spiking former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos' drink in order to create a "sensational story".
Mazher Mahmood, a former News Of The World reporter who now works for The Sun on Sunday, said his aim was to "expose criminality" over an alleged drug deal, details of which were revealed in the paper last June.
The man sometimes known as the "fake sheikh", said it was "outrageous" to suggest he was manipulating the 26-year-old, whom he had met a number of times at various luxury hotels and restaurants.
Mr Mahmood, who was cross-examined behind a screen in order to keep his identity hidden, explained he used "subterfuge" by secretly recording meetings with the singer to try to find out if she was involved with drugs.
"The motive here is in the public interest to expose criminality," he told Southwark Crown Court.
"Of course, I'm a journalist and stories are what I do for a living. That's not the reason I did it."
Contostavlos's barrister Jeremy Dein QC said: "You misled her, didn't you?"
Mr Mahmood replied: "You can't mislead somebody into supplying cocaine."
The barrister suggested the reporter and his colleague, Nish, in fact spiked Contostavlos' drink at London's Metropolitan Hotel on May 10 last year.
Mr Mahmood replied: "Absolutely outrageous."
Mr Dein said: "You got her to incriminate herself."
The witness replied: "I think that is nonsense."
Mr Dein then suggested: "This was only the beginning of your manipulation of Ms Contostavlos."
The journalist replied: "I disagree."
The accused, who was sitting in the glass-walled dock, shook her head several times as she heard the reporter giving evidence.
The ex-N-Dubz star is accused of saying she could "sort out" cocaine for the reporter and put him in touch with rapper friend Mike GLC, who supplied the Class A drug - a charge she denies.