Today, those who had previously been all too ready to defend Mazher Mahmood, aka the Fake Sheikh, over his modis operandi, which included a series of drug stings, inventing non-existant kidnap plots, and other creative conspiracies such as a “red mercury” plot (there is no such thing as red mercury) may not be so keen on defending him after yesterday’s ITV News feature on Herbie Hide.
Mazher Mahmood, not on the lookout for his conscience
What those unfamiliar with the case may not have known is that Hide may have been at the top of his game as a boxer, but he depended on his management to guide him, do the contract paperwork, and deal with anyone making demands on his time - mainly because Hide was illiterate and had attained little during his education. That management had done its job well - something that the Fake Sheikh also knew.
Hide’s management team would have seen Maz coming from some way off. Maz and his team knew that this would almost certainly scupper their intended sting. So the Fake Sheikh’s entrapment of Hide revolved around getting him on his own. There, he could be worked on to the satisfaction of the Murdoch press, and the baloney about promoting boxing in Dubai made to sound convincing.
And it all worked as intended: Maz and his pals dangled the financial bait under Hide’s nose, said there was only one thing he needed to do, to get some cocaine for one of them, they worked on Hide and nagged him until he did the deal, then made sure everything had been captured on film and shopped him to the Police. The Fake Sheikh trashed another career and he couldn’t have cared less about it.
It requires a particularly repellent individual to indulge in that kind of behaviour, one who is not only free of principle, but also willing to prey on the most vulnerable sportsmen and other slebs in order to work on them and soften them up before wrecking their lives - all for a marginal gain in newspaper circulation. Mazher Mahmood is the lowest of the low, and so are all those who have willingly helped, encouraged, and defended him.
Fortunately, Herbie Hide now has Lewis Nedas Law in his corner, with the Murdoch empire’s least favourite lawyer Mark Lewis looking at a civil claim for damages alongside the effort to have the initial conviction overturned. He is not alone: four other Fake Sheikh victims are pursuing similar actions, one of them John Alford, whose career was effectively terminated by one of Maz’ drug stings.
One reason the Murdoch lawyers might have been so keen to silence ITV News is that, this time, Mahmood can be heard as well as seen. But, given the disgraceful behaviour of their man, the question has to be asked as to why they are defending the indefensible. What secrets will be offered up if the Fake Sheikh’s past caseload has the light of an appeal hearing shone upon it? Someone doesn’t want that to happen.
And that someone appears to be rather close to Rupert Murdoch. Watch this space.
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