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Former Italian PM Berlusconi found not guilty of corruption

Weeks after his return to parliament, an Italian court on Thursday cleared former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi of paying a witness in a 2013 child prostitution case.


In a previous trial when he was charged of paying to have sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan nightclub dancer, Berlusconi, 86, was accused of paying Italian singer Mariano Apicella 157,000 euros ($162,000) to lie.


Berlusconi, the head of the Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party that supports the recently-elected government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, was ultimately found not guilty in that case.


Rome prosecutor Roberto Felici urged the court on Thursday that the allegations against him should be dropped after he entered a not guilty plea in the ensuing bribery trial.


The judges agreed and cleared Apicella of all charges of collecting bribes as well as lying because the deadline for reaching a decision had gone.


Franco Coppi, Berlusconi’s attorney, told reporters, ‘this was an impeccable finding because there was no evidence of corrupt dealings,’ adding that his client had called to express happiness with the decision.


Apicella frequently performed as a special guest at Berlusconi’s so-called Bunga Bunga parties, which is what set off the scandal that led to the media mogul’s resignation as prime minister in 2011, bringing an end to his fourth government.


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