Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018

Berlusconi's defense says 'only asked information' on Ruby


Milan, June 3 - A defense lawyer in ex-premier
Silvio Berlusconi's sex trial told a Milan court on Monday that
his client never asked police to accelerate procedures for
Karima ''Ruby'' El Mahroug's release from police custody on the
night the underage Moroccan was held on a theft charge.
Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with Ruby when she
was still a minor and for abuse of office when he phoned Milan
police on her behalf on the night of May 27-28, 2010.
The abuse of office charge is by far the heavier of the two
criminal charges.
Earlier this month prosecutors asked a Milan judge to
sentence Berlusconi to five years in prison for abuse of office
and one year for paying for sex with the underage dancer, for a
six-year total sentence.
Prosecutors also called for Berlusconi to be banned for
life from holding public office.
On the abuse of office charge, prosecutors claim that
Berlusconi, who was premier in 2010, phoned from Paris
pressuring police in Milan to release Ruby to avoid a diplomatic
incident with Egypt because the girl had told him she was a
relative of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
On Monday Ghedini told the court Berlusconi was "convinced"
Ruby was "close to Mubarak" and that was why he allegedly
brought her up at a State luncheon with the former Egyptian
leader in May 2010.
Police released Ruby to Nicole Minetti, a Lombardy regional
councillor, ex-aspiring showgirl and Berlusconi's former dental
hygienist, who was accompanied by a Brazilian prostitute.
Minetti and two other people, in a related trial, are
accused of providing prostitutes - including Ruby - for parties
a Milan prosecutor described as ''Bacchic orgies'' at the home
of the ex-premier.
The prosecutor on Friday requested that the defendants -
Minetti, ex-TV anchor Emilio Fede and bankrupt talent scout Lele
Mora - be sent to jail for seven years.
Ruby and Berlusconi both deny they ever had sex.
''Silvio Berlusconi never asked to accelerate procedures.
He only asked for a piece of information,'' asserted Niccolo'
Ghedini in his defense argument on Monday.
Police chief-of-staff Pietro Ostuni testified in court that
he ordered the officer on duty, Giorgia Iafrate, ''to accelerate
procedures, not Berlusconi'', Ghedini said.
Ghedini added that Iafrate had said in deposition that she
''autonomously decided to entrust Ruby'' to the custody of
Nicole Minetti, not under pressure from Berlusconi.
Berlusconi, Ghedini maintained, spoke to Ostuni just once
''asking only for a piece of information''.
Ghedini added, ''I don't know how one can claim a crime
took place'' like the one Berlusconi is charged with, ''if not
from a sociological point of view''.
Berlusconi claims the Ruby case is the latest example of
allegedly left-wing prosecutors trying to hound him from office.
A ruling on the sentence is expected June 24.

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