Italy’s high court to rule on Berlusconi sex trial

Italy’s high court is expected to rule on the acquittal of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on the charges of paying for under-age sex and abuse of power. The court can decide to uphold the acquittal or call for a retrial.

ROME, ITALY (MARCH 10, 2015) (REUTERS) – Italy’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, is expected to rule on Tuesday (March 10) whether to uphold the acquittal of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on the charges of paying for under-age sex and abuse of power.

In July 2014 a Milan appeals court said there was insufficient evidence to show that Berlusconi knew Karima El Mahroug, also known as “Ruby the Heartstealer”, was under 18 when she attended orgiastic “bunga bunga” parties at his mansion near Milan.

The court said Berlusconi paid a teenage nightclub dancer for sex but there was no proof he knew her age at the time.

Before the appeal Berlusconi had been sentenced to seven years in jail and banned from public office when a lower court found him guilty of paying for sex with a minor and abuse of office.

But the sex trial wasn’t the end of Berlusconi’s worries, as he faced a four-year jail sentence for tax fraud. His sentence was eventually commuted into an order to spend four hours per week for a year at a centre for Alzheimer’s patients, after being found guilty of tax fraud.

Berlusconi finished his community service 45 days early for good behaviour, last week.

The 78-year-old, a four-time prime minister and still the most influential politician in Italy’s centre-right, will get his passport back and no longer have any restriction on his movement.

If the high court does not uphold Berlusconi’s acquittal, a retrial will be called.