JOURNALIST Mick McCaffrey told the High Court he "stands over" articles he wrote saying former Premiership footballer David Speedie was associated with criminals.
While he never said Mr Speedie was a criminal, it was true to say he associated with a gangland figure, Mr McCaffrey said.
"I did not say he was a criminal but that he was associated with Ritchie Thompson, a senior member of Fat Freddie Thompson's gang," he said.
He was being cross-examined on the second day of an action against the Sunday World over articles in April 2011 which Mr Speedie said defamed him because they falsely meant he was engaged in criminal activity.
Mr Speedie is suing the paper's publishers, Sunday Newspapers Ltd, editor Colm McGinty and Mr McCaffrey. The defendants deny defamation.
Mr Speedie (pictured) claims they caused him to lose work, to be humiliated and be fearful for his life because they associated him with a mobster who was involved in a feud.
The hearing continues.