Venerdì, 18 Gennaio 2019
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MILAN

Berlusconi 'may have bribed witnesses in pimp trial'

English
© ANSA

(By Sandra Cordon)
Milan, November 29 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi
is strongly suspected of attempting to corrupt the criminal
trial that convicted three associates of providing him with
prostitutes, one of whom was a showgirl known as Ruby who was
underage at the time, the judges of the Fifth Criminal Chamber
of the Milan court said Friday.
In their written judgment, the judges said they believe
that Berlusconi made regular payments to witnesses in the case
and that this led to a "pollution of evidence" at the trial,
resulting in the corruption of the process.
They said they had referred the matter to the prosecutor's
office in Milan to further investigate both Berlusconi and his
lawyers.
In July Emilio Fede, a well-known anchorman with the
Berlusconi-owned TG4 television station, Lele Mora, a former
talent scout, and Nicole Minetti, the ex-premier's former dental
hygienist and ex-Lombardy councilor, were convicted of
organizing alleged "bunga bunga" sex parties at Berlusconi's
Arcore residence near Milan.
Fede and Mora were both given seven-year prison sentences
and banned for life from public office while Minetti was
sentenced to five years in prison and banned from office for as
many years.
All three were expected to appeal their convictions and
sentences.
During their trial, prosecutors compared Fede and Mora to
"tasters of fine wine" saying that they tested the girls before
putting them into "the circuit of the Arcore nights".
In the statement Friday, the judges said that evidence at
the pimping trial showed that many of the witnesses made
identical statements during the trial, suggesting they had been
coached.
In a related case, Berlusconi is also appealing a
seven-year sentence and lifetime ban from office for paying the
under-age Karima 'Ruby' El Mahroug for sex and then abusing his
office in a lie to cover it up.
On Friday, the judges suggested several comments and events
outside the courtroom during the pimping trial had apparently
been organized to corrupt the judicial process, including a
protest in April by Mahroug who used legal terms and statements
that made clear she had been coached, they said.
In the several ongoing and previous trials, Berlusconi has
always denied wrongdoing, claiming he is the victim of a
minority group of allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges who
he says are persecuting him for political reasons.
In connection with that trial, many of the 32 witnesses who
testified in Berlusconi's defence have been accused by judicial
sources of allegedly committing perjury.
Sources said that several political associates of
Berlusconi as well as 18 of the 32 young women who took part in
Berlusconi's parties perjured themselves.
The women supported Berlusconi's claims that the gatherings
at his home were not "bunga bunga" sex parties but innocent and
merry affairs featuring burlesque performances.
Berlusconi's legal woes have taken a harsh turn recently.
On Wednesday, Berlusconi was ejected from the Senate
following his definitive conviction in August on tax fraud
charges.

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