Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minster of Italy was convicted Monday (June 24) in a case stemming from soliciting the services of an underage prostitute. The senior citizen was sentenced for seven years in prison, and barred for life from holding any form of political office.
A panel of three female judges handed down the punishment, additionally finding him guilty of abuse of office.
During reported “bunga bunga” events held in 2010, Berlusconi invited women to his mansion in Milan for what prosecutors say were s*x parties.
Karima El Mahroug, the teen at the center of the scandal, has denied sleeping with Berlusconi but neither took the stand to aid the defense.
Lawyer Niccolo Ghedini was shocked by the ruling. “This is beyond reality,” he said outside the courtroom. “I’m calm because I’ve been saying this for three years that this trial should never have taken place here.”
Ghedini plans to appeal.
Berlusconi was also unhappy with the court battle believing, like Ghedini, that the decision was fueled by political opposition. “An incredible sentence has been issued of a violence never seen or hatred of before, to try to eliminate me from the political life of this country,” the media mogul said in a statement. “Yet again I intend to resist against this persecution because I am absolutely innocent and I don’t want in any way to abandon my battle to make Italy a country that is truly free and just.”
Included in the verdict, was the recommendation that roughly 30 witnesses in the case be investigated for perjury over their testimony in Berlusconi’s defense.
This current legal case is the second in a pair of defeats for Berlusconi. Last month, his appeal against a tax evasion verdict was denied.
Photo: Hollywood Reporter