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Max Clifford fights back in court drama

LONDON - Publicist Max Clifford fought back angrily in court yesterday against claims made by former client Mandy Allwood, whose story he publicised when she became pregnant with octuplets.

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Allwood is suing Clifford for breach of trust, claiming that when he brokered a deal with tabloid newspaper News of the World, he secretly profited from her story by negotiating a separate £15,000 deal for himself.

Clifford admitted that he had brokered a separate £15,000 deal, but claimed that he had told Allwood about it. He said the court action was nothing more than an attempt to damage his professional reputation.

He also denied Allwood's claim that he had not put a cash payment for commission on a fee for a television interview through the books, saying that such behaviour was "more consistent" with that of Allwood and her partner Paul Hudson.

At one point, the judge, Mr Justice Park, intervened to stop the case becoming a "general onslaught".

Clifford's counsel Edmund Cullen pointed out that Allwood and Hudson originally claimed hundreds of thousands of pounds when she launched the action in 1997, but the claim had been limited to £16,200 after pre-trial hearings.

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