Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted in the Ruby III trial where he was accused of bribing witnesses to lie about the real nature of his bunga bunga parties. Berlusconi always claimed they were elegant soirees.
Berlusconi was acquitted of corruption in judicial acts in one of several trials. They all stem from the case of his paying an underage prostitute called Ruby for sex. He was acquitted in the original trial as it was accepted he did not know she was just 17 at the time.
Ruby, whose real name is Karima El Mahroug, was also acquitted, as were all 29 defendants.
Reacting to the acquittal, Berlusconi said his name had been cleared after 11 years of mud slinging and political damage from the case.
“I have finally been acquitted after more than 11 year of suffering, of mud-slinging and incalculable political damage, because I was lucky to be judged by magistrates who succeeded in remaining independent, impartial and correct in the face of the unfounded accusations that had been made against me,” said the 86-year-old. Berlusconi’s lawyer said his client was above all “relieved”.
The billionaire’s lawyer said “now it’s three out of three (trials), and all acquitted with the fullest formula!”
“It is an acquittal with the widest and fullest possible formula. I cannot but be enormously satisfied, three out of three!”. So said Berlusconi’s lawyer referring to the previous acquittals for the other cases in Siena and Rome.
Forza Italia “celebrates” Ruby III trial acquittal for Berlusconi
Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said “FI celebrates Berlusconi on this great day for justice.” He added the trial had been “a stitch-up against Berlusconi”.
Longtime Berlusconi ally and rightwing League party leader Matteo Salvini said “I’m very happy about Silvio’s acquittal”.
FI members said the sentence ended what they called a “politically motivated trial”.
El Mahroug said that Ruby, the stage name she assumed as a teenage Moroccan runaway exotic dancer, had been “a complete invention”.
Berlusconi says he is the victim of politically inspired judicial persecution, with many other cases over the years. Only one final and definitive conviction has been passed, for tax fraud. As a result, he was ejected from the Senate for a few years.