In a 2012 interview on Today FM, aired for the first time last night, Mr Walsh was asked whether it was provocative to refer to Humphries as “a fine man” in the acknowledgement of his book on cycling cheat Lance Armstrong.
“No, I don’t believe it’s provocative at all, it’s a statement that I believe to be true,” said Mr Walsh.
He had “known Tom a long time and he’s a great, great man and as we know, he’s an incredibly talented writer”.
Asked if being a great man and a great writer were two different things, Mr Walsh replied: “Yes... but in my view he’s a fine man and I will always believe that.”
“I maybe know a bit more than most people about the charges and the situation Tom has found himself in. There is no question in my mind that he is a fine man.”
Asked if there was a similarity between him defending Humphries and someone defending Armstrong, Mr Walsh said the comparison was “odious” and “completely inappropriate”.
“I know a damn sight more about it than most people and I believe Tom is a fine man, and in the end, that will come out and people will understand he is a fine man.”
Mr Walsh has come in for criticism since it emerged he provided a character reference in court for Humphries who has pleaded guilty to six offences, dating from 2010 and 2011, including the sexual exploitation and defilement of a child.
Armstrong tweeted of the Walsh controversy: “This warms my heart.”
Writer Paul Howard tweeted that Mr Walsh had contacted him in 2012 “and said he was involved in setting up a sports magazine, essentially for the benefit of Tom, who couldn’t work”.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Howard said.