LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's best-known publicist, Max Clifford, pleaded not guilty in a London court on Tuesday to 11 counts of indecent assault against seven girls dating back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Clifford is a household name in Britain whose celebrity clients have included TV music mogul Simon Cowell and U.S. boxer Muhammad Ali.
The 70-year-old was arrested in December and charged last month. Tuesday's hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court was his first court appearance.
Wearing a blue jacket, white shirt and grey trousers, the white-haired Clifford spoke only to confirm his name and address and to enter his pleas of not guilty.
The 11 counts relate to seven different alleged victims who were aged between 15 and 19 at the time of the offences, which are alleged to have taken place between 1966 and 1985.
Clifford told reporters after the hearing that the allegations against him were untrue and since his arrest he had been "in the dark" as to the identity of the women making accusations against him.
"This is a nightmare for myself and my family and it has been since December," he said just outside the courtroom.
"What I've got to do now is prove that these allegations are totally without foundation as I know them to be."
Judge Howard Riddle granted Clifford conditional bail and sent his case for trial at a higher court, Southwark Crown Court, where his first appearance is scheduled for June 12.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, editing by Paul Casciato)