Reporter in drugs sting denies spiking Tulisa's drink
An undercover reporter has told a court he wanted to "expose criminality" about an alleged drug deal involving Tulisa Contostavlos and it was "outrageous" to suggest he spiked the singer's drink during one of their meetings.
Mazher Mahmood posed as a wealthy film producer called Samir Khan when he met the former 'X Factor' judge at a string of luxury hotels and restaurants, jurors have heard.
Giving evidence at London's Southwark Crown Court, he denied "manipulating" the 26-year-old after he told her she was being considered for a leading role in a film alongside possible co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.
Contostavlos is on trial after allegedly boasting that she could "sort out" cocaine for Mr Mahmood and put the reporter in touch with her rapper friend Mike GLC who supplied the Class A drug.
She vehemently denies brokering the deal, which was exposed in the 'Sun on Sunday' newspaper last June.
Appearing in the witness box behind a screen to protect his identity, Mr Mahmood said he used "subterfuge" when he secretly recorded meetings with the ex-N-Dubz star as he attempted to establish whether she was involved in drugs.
"The motive here is in the public interest to expose criminality," he said.
Under cross-examination, Mr Mahmood denied that the reason for the expose was to create a "sensational story".
He said: "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 said: "You misled her, didn't you?"
Mr Mahmood replied: "You can't mislead somebody into supplying cocaine."
Mr Dein suggested that Mr Mahmood and his colleague "Nish" spiked Contostavlos's drink when they met 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."
Sitting in the glass-walled dock, Contostavlos shook her head at times during Mr Mahmood's evidence.
Mike GLC, whose real name is Michael Coombs (36), pleaded guilty on Monday to supplying half an ounce of cocaine.
Contostavlos, of Friern Barnet, north London, denies being concerned in brokering the drug deal.
The jury was sent home and told to return to the court on Monday.