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Celebrity publicist Max Clifford convicted of indecent assault

By Peter Wilkinson, CNN
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Max Clifford is Britain's most famous celebrity PR consultant, renowned for his decades-long expertise in
Max Clifford is Britain's most famous celebrity PR consultant, renowned for his decades-long expertise in "kiss-and-tell" clients.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Celebrity publicist Max Clifford found guilty of indecent assaults on teenage girls
  • Clifford convicted in investigation into allegations against TV presenter Jimmy Savile
  • He was convicted of 8 assaults, cleared of two, and a jury failed to reach verdict on another
  • Clifford denies claims, calling arrest and prosecution "a nightmare"

London (CNN) -- Celebrity publicist Max Clifford was found guilty at a London court Monday of a series of indecent assaults on teenage girls, according to British police.

Clifford, from Hersham, Surrey, is the first person to be convicted in an investigation into sex abuse allegations against the late British TV presenter Jimmy Savile. He was convicted of eight indecent assaults against young victims -- one as young as 15 -- cleared of two, and a jury could not reach a verdict on one other.

The 71-year-old denied all 11 claims of sex abuse between 1966 and 1985, calling his arrest and prosecution "a nightmare" and declaring his innocence.

But prosecutors portrayed him as an expert manipulator, according to media reports, vowing to help victims' careers and introduce them to celebrities for sexual favors.

He was released on bail until his sentencing Friday, but Judge Anthony Leonard warned him all options were open to him, the Press Association reported. "You must realize that the fact I have given you bail is no indication of what the final sentence will be," he said.

Jenny Hopkins, deputy chief crown prosecutor in London, said: "Today's verdicts provide a long-denied justice to the victims of serious sexual offences.

"I would like to thank these victims for having had the courage to come forward and give evidence. The victims of sexual abuse, whenever it may have taken place, should know that police and prosecutors will listen."

Clifford was arrested in December 2012 and charged in April 2013 on suspicion of sex offenses in connection with the investigation -- dubbed Operation Yewtree -- into numerous allegations made against Savile and others after a TV documentary that aired in October 2012.

In the documentary, several people came forward alleging Savile abused them, unleashing a further flood of allegations against the star, who before that was seen primarily as an eccentric but charismatic man who raised millions of pounds for charity.

Clifford is Britain's most famous celebrity PR consultant, renowned for his decades-long expertise in "kiss-and-tell" clients connected to English Premier League footballers and the world of pop and showbiz. He has also represented several controversial celebrities, including O.J. Simpson, Frank Sinatra and Simon Cowell.

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