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Berlusconi acquitted in bribery case

Feb. 25, 2012 at 10:40 AM   |   Comments

MILAN, Italy, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted Saturday of corrupting the judicial system by paying a British lawyer to perjure himself.

The trial in Milan began five years ago. The judges said Saturday they would give their reasons for the verdict within 90 days, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Neither Berlusconi's lawyers nor the prosecutor would comment as they left the court. Berlusconi was not in court.

Berlusconi was charged with making payments to David Mills to get him to lie in two earlier trials. Mills, husband of former Labor Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, represented Berlusconi on tax matters in the early 1990s and allegedly set up offshore corporations to help him evade taxes.

Even if Berlusconi, 75, had been convicted, he would have been unlikely to spend significant time in prison, The Daily Telegraph reported. Italian law sets low limits on sentences for the elderly, and the statute of limitations in this case was about to expire.

Berlusconi, who resigned in November after years of scandal, still faces other criminal charges.

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