/ 28 April 2014

Publicist Max Clifford found guilty of sexual assault

British publicist Max Clifford.
British publicist Max Clifford.

Britain's best-known celebrity publicist Max Clifford was found guilty on Monday of eight charges of indecently assaulting teenagers over a period of nearly 20 years from 1966. 

His conviction is the latest in a string of celebrities to face historic sex charges.

Clifford (71), whose celebrity clients have included TV music mogul Simon Cowell and US boxer Muhammad Ali, as well as murder accused Shrien Dewani, was charged with 11 counts of sexually assaulting seven girls aged 14 to 19 between 1966 and 1984.

A jury cleared him on two of these charges and was unable to reach a verdict on the final charge, said a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service. Sentencing is scheduled to take place on Friday.

Clifford was arrested in December 2012 as part of an investigation into historic sexual assault cases under the code name  Operation Yewtree, triggered by revelations that the late BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender over decades.

During the five-week trial, the prosecution portrayed Clifford as a master in the art of intimidation and manipulation who used his power and celebrity contacts to prey on girls by promising to introduce them to stars in exchange for sex acts.

Clifford denied all charges, saying the allegations against him were "utterly repulsive" lies by fantasists and opportunists out to make money, but admitted to a series of affairs during his marriage to his first wife. – Reuters