Berlusconi decries court ruling upholding prison sentence

Aug. 2, 2013 at 7:19 AM
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ROME, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi lashed out at the judiciary after his sentence for tax fraud was upheld by the country's highest court.

In a video message, Berlusconi said he was victimized by "an incredible series of accusations and trials" that weren't grounded in reality, the BBC reported Friday.

The court ordered a judicial review on whether Berlusconi should be banned from public office.

He was sentenced to four years in prison in October in a case concerning deals his firm Mediaset made to purchase television rights to U.S. films. The sentence was reduced to three years under a 2006 pardon law.

Berlusconi, 76, is unlikely to go to prison because of his age, the BBC said. He is expected to serve his sentence under house arrest but has the option of community service instead.

The ruling by Rome's Court of Cassation cannot be appealed.

Berlusconi was to meet with lawmakers from his People of Freedom to discuss the situation after the court upheld his sentence, ANSA reported.

In his 9-minute video, Berlusconi denounced the decision as "based on nothing, and which deprives me of my freedom and political rights."

"No one can understand the onslaught of real violence that has been directed against me following an incredible series of accusations and trials that don't have any foundation in reality," he said.

Appeals are pending in cases in which Berlusconi was convicted for having paid for sex with an underage prostitute and for arranging for a police wiretap to be leaked and published in a newspaper.

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