Knutsford GuardianDate set for Tulisa cocaine trial (From Knutsford Guardian)

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Date set for Tulisa cocaine trial

Knutsford Guardian: Former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos arrives at Southwark Crown Court Former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos arrives at Southwark Crown Court

Tulisa Contostavlos will stand trial on a drugs charge the day after her 26th birthday, she has been told.

The singer made her first appearance at London's Southwark Crown Court accused of brokering a cocaine deal and was told that her trial is expected to take place on July 14.

The N-Dubz star is charged with helping an undercover reporter obtain 13.9g (0.5oz) of the Class A drug for £860.

Dressed in a black jacket and skirt, she appeared alongside rapper Mike GLC, also known as Michael Coombs, 35, for a 10-minute preliminary hearing.

The pair spoke only to confirm their names and say that they understood the current timetable.

There will also be a case management hearing on March 27.

Former X Factor judge Contostavlos, of Friern Barnet, north London, denies being "concerned with the supply of 13.9 grams of cocaine" to Sun on Sunday undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, known as the "fake sheikh", between May 20 and May 24.

Coombs, of Velocity Way, Enfield, north London, denies a charge of supplying the drug on May 23.

Contostavlos allegedly set up the transaction after telling Mr Mahmood she could help provide him with "white sweets", which is claimed to have been code for cocaine.

She is accused of playing a "significant role" of putting the fake sheikh in touch with Coombs before the pair met at the upmarket Dorchester Hotel in central London.

The Sun on Sunday recorded the meeting in which Coombs is said to have handed over half an ounce of cocaine.

Contostavlos was initially arrested in connection with the incident with Coombs on June 4.

She was officially dropped as a judge on X Factor days before her arrest, with Sharon Osbourne returning to the show in her place.

Judge Alistair McCreath gave Contostavlos and Coombs the timetable for the case and renewed their unconditional bail.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

After the hearing, a man thought to be Contostavlos's solicitor read a statement to reporters, which said: "Today Tulisa appeared at Southwark Crown Court in connection with a serious allegation that she has been concerned in the supply of drugs.

"Tulisa is not guilty of this, or any other offence, and is looking forward to giving her account to a jury.

"That trial will reveal the full extent of the role played by Mazher Mahmood and the Sunday Sun."

Responding to the statement, The Sun said: "Allegations about the conduct of this newspaper made by Ms Contostavlos' lawyers are entirely without foundation."

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