Ex-official: Berlusconi in 'media trial'

Nov. 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM
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ROME, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The trial of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi seems like a "media trial," Mara Carfagna, a former member of his Cabinet, said Monday.

Carfagna, the former equal opportunities minister, made the comment after testifying in Berlusconi's trial on charges he had sex with an underage prostitute and abused his power, the Italian news service ANSA reported.

After leaving court, Carfagna said she was not "aware of the facts" of the case. "We have to simply wait for the judges' decision," she said.

The proceedings were like a "media trial," she said.

Maria Stella Gelmini, minister of education under Berlusconi's administration, also testified. She said she had been to the prime minister's home several times for work and had never seen "young girls" there.

Berlusconi is accused of paying Karima el-Mahroug, a Moroccan runaway and nightclub dancer, for sex when she was younger than 18. Both have denied the allegations.

El-Mahroug has said Carfagna and Gelmini were both present at Berlusconi's villa when she was there on Feb. 14, 2010.

Berlusconi is accused of abuse of power for allegedly convincing police to release el-Mahroug after she was arrested for theft. He has said he believed she was a relative of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and wanted to avoid a diplomatic incident.

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