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Court acquits former Italian prime minister Berlusconi in sex case trial

Published on Jul 18, 2014 8:09 PM
 
An Italian appeals court on Friday cleared Silvio Berlusconi of having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power in a surprise ruling that will strengthen the former prime minister on the political scene. -- PHOTO: AFP

MILAN (AFP) - An Italian appeals court on Friday cleared Silvio Berlusconi of having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power in a surprise ruling that will strengthen the former prime minister on the political scene.

"The defendant is acquitted," presiding judge Enrico Tranfa said, requesting silence after gasps from the court.

The judge said there was "no crime" on the abuse of power charge and that Berlusconi's actions "did not constitute a crime" on the prostitution one, promising to publish a detailed explanation within the three-month legal limit.

Berlusconi's lawyer Franco Coppi said that the ruling had "exceeded our highest expectations", explaining that the judge may have recognised the defence argument that Berlusconi did not know the girl was 17 years old.

 
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