PR guru Max Clifford has branded the women he allegedly assaulted as “fantasists and opportunists” who may be trying to get compensation.
The 70-year-old, who is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven girls and women, told London’s Southwark Crown Court that the women who claim he indecently assaulted them are telling a “pack of lies”.
Clifford made the claims as he was cross-examined by prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC on his third day in the witness box.
In an occasionally heated exchange, the veteran celebrity agent was asked to explain why a group of women from different areas, and of different ages and backgrounds, would have made claims about him allegedly assaulting them, sometimes in apparently similar ways.
Ms Cottage said two alleged victims had separately made similar allegations about being indecently assaulted by Clifford while on holiday in Spain, while two others had given similar accounts.
Asked by the prosecutor whether he knew anything that may have linked the women, Clifford replied: “I am not aware of anything that links them together apart from them telling a pack of lies.”
He said the women “all saw opportunities and they have all taken them”.
The media magnate said the allegations had been “very, very damaging” to him and his family, but said he had not needed to go back and double-check his diaries to find out where he was at the time of the alleged assaults because he knew they were untrue.”
Clifford claimed allegations which surfaced after his first arrest in December 2012 came after other women “saw it in the papers”, but branded the claims “lies made up by fantasists and opportunists”.
Clifford was questioned about phone calls he made using different names, denying it was “a game”, and said he used the method to find out if women were trustworthy or not.
Clifford said the only voice he put on was that of a character he called Terry Denton, which he told jurors was a “gay voice”.
He admitted having sex in his office, but said it was “an occasional spontaneous thing, normally after work and the door would be shut”.
He told the court he had had several affairs while married to his first wife, which his daughter Louise knew about.
The court heard he told Louise when she was a teenager, but would have reassured her that he still loved her mother and was just “greedy”.
“I don’t say it makes it all right but that’s what was happening,” he said.
The prosecutor asked how Clifford found the girls for the parties he organised, to which he replied: “They found me. They would ring up and they would say ‘Can I come, can I bring my sister, can I bring my mother, can I bring my aunt?’”
The PR guru, referred to in his book as a “ringmaster”, said nobody had done anything they did not want to do at the parties, adding that he “didn’t have to groom people”.
“No-one was doing anything to anyone that they didn’t want to do,” he said.
He also described how he went to ‘60s siren Diana Dors’ sex parties when he was a teenager, and told the court: “I thoroughly enjoyed them!”, but he said he did not think he had sex at the parties, just “an awful lot of laughs”.
The court also heard that Clifford had earned extra money when he was a teenager working as a reporter on a local paper, by putting on “blue movie nights” above a local pub with films he said he got from the police.
Clifford denies all charges against him. The trial was adjourned until Monday morning.