Official: Pardon would still bar Berlusconi from holding public office

Aug. 14, 2013 at 6:46 PM

ROME, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will lose his Senate seat even if he receives a presidential pardon, an Italian legislative official said Wednesday.

President Giorgio Napolitano said Tuesday even if Berlusconi is spared prison he will still have to spend a year in home confinement or doing community service, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Napolitano also said he must respect the independence of judges although he is willing to consider a pardon.

Dario Stefano, a member of the left-wing SEL Party and head of the Senate panel deciding on immunity, said a pardon would not affect Berlusconi's ban from holding public office.

Piero Longo, Berlusconi's attorney, said Wednesday his client will ask for a pardon.

"The pardon will be requested, sooner or later," Longo said.

Berlusconi, 76, has been sentenced to four years for tax evasion and seven years for having sex with an underage prostitute. Under Italy's cumbersome legal system he will not go to prison until the convictions are confirmed by an appeals court.

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