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Tulisa drugs trial due to begin

The court case against pop star and former X Factor judge Tulisa is expected to begin today, after two days’ legal wrangling delayed the start of her trial for suspected drugs offending.

The former N-Dubz star, who appears in court as Tulisa Contostavlos, allegedly helped to arrange the sale of half an ounce (13.9g) of cocaine for £860 to The Sun on Sunday’s undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood – dubbed the “fake sheikh” – between May 20 and 24 last year.

A jury of nine men and three women were yesterday sworn in to hear the case, which is expected to last more than two weeks at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

Before they were selected, jurors were asked if they had any connections to The Sun newspaper, The Sun on Sunday or the Sunday Times, or any other News UK enterprise “that would make it difficult for you to be objective and fair” in the case.

The court clerk read the charge and Contostavlos’ not guilty plea out to the jurors.

Judge Alistair McCreath warned the jury not to discuss the case with anyone outside the jury room and not to research the case.

He said: “As you may have worked out by now, the defendant is somebody in the public eye.

“She was a professional singer and she had been a judge on the X Factor. She is somebody who is famous.

“The upshot of that is that if you do mention this case to anybody they are bound to say something about what they think.”

Contostavlos, 26, of Friern Barnet, north London, was officially dropped as a judge on the ITV talent show X Factor days before her arrest on June 4 last year, with Sharon Osbourne returning to the show in her place.

The solo singer denies helping an undercover reporter to obtain 0.5oz (13.9g) of the Class A drug for £860.

Prosecutor Tim Cray is due to open the case this morning.

Contostavlos’ friend, rapper Mike GLC, whose real name is Michael Coombs, 36, pleaded guilty to supplying the drugs at a late night rendezvous at the five star Dorchester Hotel in London’s Mayfair.

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