MILAN, Italy, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi testified he did not have sex with an underage prostitute or influence police to get her released from custody.
Berlusconi is being tried in Milan on charges of bribery and the prostitution of a minor. Friday's court session included defense witnesses and testimony by Berlusconi, Agenzia Gionalistica Italia reported.
"I can absolutely exclude there ever having been sex scenes of any kind in my house," Berlusconi said. "I never had any type of intimate relationship" with the teen prostitute known as Ruby, who was 17 at the time the accusation was made in 2010.
Because of her looks and actions, Ruby, a Moroccan runaway and former belly dancer whose real name is Karima el-Mahroug, was believed to be 24 years old, Berlusconi said.
Concerning whether he used his influence to secure the teen's release from police, Berlusconi said he was led to believe the teen was a relative of a former Egyptian president so he wanted to avert a diplomatic incident by having her released from a Milan police station in May 2010, ANSA reported. He said he never pressured the police.
Berlusconi told the court he was "left speechless" when he learned the girl was Moroccan and underage, and said he also realized she created a false identity possibly to cover up economic difficulties.
If convicted Berlusconi could be sentenced to a possible 15 years in prison.
Berlusconi resigned because of Italy's economic crisis in November.
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