Skip to comments.Berlusconi acquitted in Ruby sex case trial
Posted on 07/19/2014 12:20:56 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Milan (AFP) - An Italian appeals court on Friday cleared Silvio Berlusconi of having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power in a surprise ruling that will strengthen the former prime minister on the political scene.
"The defendant is acquitted," presiding judge Enrico Tranfa said, requesting silence after gasps from the courtroom.
The effectively scraps Berlusconi's seven-year sentence and lifelong ban from holding public office.
The judge said there was "no crime" on the abuse of power charge and that Berlusconi's actions "did not constitute a crime" on the prostitution one, promising to publish a detailed explanation within the three-month legal limit.
His lawyer Franco Coppi said the judge may have recognised the defence argument that Berlusconi did not know the girl in question was only 17 years old at the time.
"I am moved," the 77-year-old Berlusconi was quoted as saying in a tweet sent out by his Forza Italia party.
"Only those who have been close to me in these years know how much I suffered for an unjust accusation," he said, condemning "media aggression, gossip and slander".
Berlusconi, who has repeatedly accused prosecutors and judges of being biased against him, went on to praise magistrates, saying: "The majority of Italian magistrates does its work quietly, with admirable balance and rigour".
Berlusconi was not present at the hearing in Milan as he is doing his once-a-week community service at a centre for Alzheimer's patients for a separate tax fraud conviction linked to his business empire, Mediaset.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, seen here during a TV show on May 22, 2014, has been acquitted of charges of having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power (AFP Photo/Tiziana Fabi)
She was just 17
if you know what I mean
This should restore some faith in the Italian Judicial system.
Hey, Nic! Ya want my lawyer's phone number?
File photo of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (C) speaking with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) during a news conference following a summit to discuss the international financial crisis at the Elysee Palace October 4, 2008. Merkel will celebrate her 60th birthday on July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Yeah, duh! Of course it was a smear and attempted railroading. Bravo Silvio.
Is that an acquittal-acquittal; or an Italian First Round acquittal?
Italy's top court has definitively cleared Silvio Berlusconi of charges that he paid for sex with an underage dancer, fuelling talk of a return to the political limelight for the embattled former premier.
The ruling by the Court of Cassation brings to an end a lengthy legal saga which lifted the lid on the sordid "bunga bunga" sex parties the billionaire tycoon and former prime minister organised in his Milan villa.
It also leaves the 78-year-old, who served three terms as premier, free to resume a central role in politics at the helm of his centre-right Forza Italia party.
Berlusconi was convicted in 2013 of the most serious charges he has faced in a scandal-tainted career, only to be acquitted on appeal a year later.
The quashing of his seven-year prison term and a lifetime ban from public office triggered a counter-appeal by prosecutors to the Court of Cassation.
The billionaire businessman, whose empire includes the AC Milan soccer club, has always denied paying for sex with a 17-year-old dancer called Karima El-Mahroug who went by the stage name "Ruby the Heart Stealer."
He maintained he only tried to help the Moroccan national when she was later arrested for an alleged theft because he thought she was a niece of the then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
The appeal court appeared to accept that argument when it ruled that Berlusconi had not abused his power. It also said Berlusconi had not committed a crime in having sex with Ruby as he did not know she was under 18, the legal minimum for a prostitute to sell sex in Italy.
Prosecutor Edoardo Scardaccione had told Tuesday's hearing that Berlusconi's antics had held Italy up to ridicule. "The Mubarak's niece episode was worthy of a Mel Brooks film," he said. "The whole world was laughing at us behind our backs."