UK publicist Max Clifford denies indecent assault

Tue May 28, 2013 8:31am EDT
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By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's best-known publicist, Max Clifford, pleaded not guilty in a London court on Tuesday to 11 counts of indecent assault against seven girls dating back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Often described as a public relations "guru" for his ability to generate and control press coverage, Clifford is a household name in Britain whose celebrity clients have included TV music mogul Simon Cowell and U.S. boxer Muhammad Ali.

The 70-year-old was arrested in December as part of a police investigation into the crimes of Jimmy Savile, a TV star of the 1970s and 80s who was exposed after his death in 2011 as a prolific predatory child sex abuser, causing a huge scandal.

Clifford's case is unconnected to Savile but is part of the same police operation because the allegations against him emerged as a result of the media coverage of Savile's crimes.

"All I know is, up until the Jimmy Savile situation no one said anything about me at all," Clifford told reporters just outside the courtroom.

The hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court was Clifford's first court appearance.

Wearing a blue jacket, white shirt and grey trousers, the white-haired Clifford spoke only to confirm his name and address and to enter his pleas of not guilty.

The 11 counts relate to seven different alleged victims who were aged between 15 and 19 at the time of the offences, which are alleged to have taken place between 1966 and 1985.   Continued...

Publicist Max Clifford leaves after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London May 28, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth