British journalist Mazher Mahmood covers his face with his coat as he leaves the Old Bailey Courthouse in London, Britain October 5, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
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Mazher Mahmood, one of Britain's best known undercover reporters renowned for his "fake sheikh" sting operations, was facing jail Wednesday after being convicted of plotting to alter evidence in a high-profile court case where he was the main witness.Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News Corp.'s British newspaper arm News U.K. who was charged over phone hacking and cleared, told her trial Mahmood was an incredibly professional journalist whose subterfuge was in the public interest.But his stings have also led to other high-profile prosecutions which have collapsed, including the case against five men accused of plotting to kidnap singer-turned-designer Victoria Beckham in 2002 after it was revealed the main witness had been paid by the News of the World.
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