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Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Timeline: Stranger than fiction
Lord Archer's life is a tale of success and scandal. BBC News Online looks back over the recent ups and downs of the peer's career.
1987: Libel case
Lord Archer vigorously denied he had slept with the woman whose name was Monica Coghlan. He sued the Daily Star newspaper for libel and won. He was awarded a spectacular £500,000 in damages.
A letter written by Lord Archer's friend Ted Francis, which gave Lord Archer an alibi for a night in September 1986, was never used during the 1987 trial.
But this letter became significant 12 years later when Mr Francis admitted its contents were false.
1994: Anglia shares
He then sold the shares at a profit of more than £70,000.
Lord Archer has always maintained that he made no personal profit from the deal.
However, his wife Mary Archer was a director of the company at the time, which raised the prospect of insider dealing.
In July Lord Archer was told that no insider trading charges would be brought - but his lawyers admitted he had made a mistake.
Previously tipped to become Tory party chairman, Lord Archer did not feature in a summer cabinet reshuffle.
1999: Scandal resurfaces
In November Mr Francis told the News of the World that Lord Archer had asked him to provide a false alibi ahead of his Daily Star libel hearing in July 1987.
Mr Francis said he did this believing it was to help save Lord Archer's marriage. He said Lord Archer had told him he was really with his former assistant Andrina Colquhoun on the night in question.
The Conservative Party, keen to eradicate any hint of sleaze from its ranks, removed the whip from Lord Archer and announced it would refer aspects of the allegations against him to its ethics and integrity committee.
Then party leader William Hague said: "This is the end of politics for Jeffrey Archer. I will not tolerate behaviour like this in my party."
The Daily Star demanded the return of £500,000 in damages - plus interest.
The paper said that although Ted Francis's statement was never used in court during the 1987 case, knowledge it had been fabricated could have affected the outcome.
As a result of the revelations the police began a perjury investigation.
2000: Imitating life
Lord Archer bounced back in September when he made his stage debut in a peculiar blurring of fiction and reality.
He appeared at the Theatre Royal Windsor as the lead character in The Accused, a courtroom drama.
Lord Archer played a prominent man defending himself in a court case. The play focused on whether or not his character had lied about a sexual relationship.
At the end the audience got to vote on whether he was guilty.
In December Lord Archer was back in a real court, pleading not guilty to the charges against him as the trial date is set for May the following year.
April 2001: Fatal accident
Monica Coghlan died when the car she was driving was hit by another vehicle, driven by a fleeing armed robber.
May 2001: Trial opens
Next to him in the dock was Ted Francis, facing one count of perverting the course of justice. Both men denied all the charges against them.
Later, she told them how she bought expensive gifts for his mistress on her credit card in order to keep Archer's reputation "whiter than white".
Taped telephone conversations in which the peer admits he did not have the disputed 'alibi dinner' with Ted Francis were played to the court.
July 2001: Guilty verdict
The jury cleared him of one count of perjury and earlier in the trial he was found not guilty of dishonesty on the direction of the judge.
Calling it an "extremely distasteful case", the judge told Archer: "These charges represent as serious an offence of perjury as I have had experience of and have been able to find in the books."
As Archer was taken to begin his sentence at high-security Belmarsh prison in south east London, his solicitor announced that an appeal would be launched.
Mr Francis was found not guilty of the charge against him.
August 2001: Jail switch
Archer was therefore transferred from Belmarsh to the category C Wayland Prison in Norfolk, rather than an open jail.
He later told a newspaper that life in prison had taught him more about drugs than life outside ever did.
July 2002: Appeal bid
But three judges rejected the request and said the sentence handed down had not been overly harsh because of the serious nature of Archer's crime.
August 2002: Prison life
Archer was also mobbed by the media as he started a five-day-a-week job for the Theatre Royal in Lincoln.
He worked on community and charity projects during the day and returned to prison at night.
He took advantage of the drive to and from the theatre to stop off for take-aways at a Chinese restaurant and traditional fish and chip shop.
September 2002: Disaster strikes - again
More trouble loomed when it emerged Archer enjoyed a restaurant meal with a senior prison officer and a woman police officer.
The warder resigned - later saying it was for health reasons - while she was subject to a separate inquiry ordered by constabulary chiefs.
October 2002: Payback time
Controversy raged when it emerged Archer was to publish a diary covering his first days in prison when, they revealed, he contemplated suicide.
There were claims he broke Prison Service rules by identifying some of his fellow prisoners, such as the murderers he rubbed shoulders with.
But Archer was said to think any punishment would be a "price worth paying" and his wife Mary said he believed his writings on drugs, paedophiles and prisoners on life sentences needed debating.
The diary, which is based on the three weeks he spent in London's top security Belmarsh jail, is released on Monday and will be serialised in the Mail.
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