Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, who is accused of "corrupt and illegal practices" in his re-election, is the victim of "downright deliberately false allegations" his lawyer said today.
Duncan Penny QC told a special hearing in the High Court says there is "little if any" evidence of wrong-doing against the 48-year-old Independent candidate.
He said the allegations of "electoral fraud" bought by four Tower Hamlets residents were a mixture of invention, exaggeration and falsehood.
Mr Penny QC said the "one aim" was to unseat a "directly elected mayor".
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The re-election fraud hearing of Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman has opened at the High Court before election judge Richard Mawrey.
ITV News London Correspondent Simon Harris is at the hearing, where Francis Hoar, the barrister for the petitioners, has described Mr Rahman's denial of any wrongdoing as "laughable".
Hoar: Rahman will claim 'I know nothing' about fraud. 'Explanation is so poor as to be laughable.' @itvlondon
Hoar plans to call 100 witnesses. He claims some have had threats of violence and threats to their families in Bangladesh. @itvlondon
Mr Rahman has previously issued a strong denial against the claims: "There is simply no evidence to substantiate that the recent election results were due to fraud and intimidation," he said. "It is clear that these complaints are being generated by disgruntled candidates who lost."
A High Court trial challenging the re-election of Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman opens today.
Mr Rahman, 48, is accused of winning May's election through "corrupt and illegal practices".
A leading forensics expert expected to give evidence during the hearing has conducted electrostatic document analysis (Esda) tests on postal ballot papers marked with votes for Mr Rahman, The Telegraph reported.
The petition against Rahman, an independent candidate, was brought by Tower Hamlets residents Andy Erlam, Debbie Simone, Azmal Hussein and Angela Moffat.
Mr Erlam, who stood as a councillor on an anti-corruption ticket, says there are "serious questions" which "need answers" and is calling for a re-run of the election.
Mr Rahman denies any wrongdoing.
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