Berlusconi accused of defending self outside court 'again'

Sex-trial prosecutor cites TV special on legal woes

Berlusconi accused of defending self outside court 'again'

(see related) Milan, May 13 - A prosecutor accused ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi of mounting a defense outside of court "again" and thus was undeserving of any "generic" sentencing mitigation in a sex-trial hearing in Milan on Monday. The three-time premier and media magnate "once more defended himself not in the trial but outside the trial," said Ilda Boccassini, making reference to a television special about Berlusconi's legal woes called The 20-Year War, which aired on the Berlusconi-controlled Canale 5. Boccassini made her comments before requesting a combined sentence of six years in prison for Berlusconi, as well as to ban him for life from public office. Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly paying for sex with an underage Moroccan prostitute named Ruby and accused of abusing his office by trying to spring her from police custody with a phone call when she was held on an unrelated theft charge. Boccassini reminded the court of a past trial against Berlusconi, in which he was accused of bribing a judge in a case regarding his takeover of the publisher Mondadori. Boccassini said his case expired under the statute of limitations because he was granted "generic attentuating circumstances". The TV special caused furor on the social network Twitter on Monday. The programme was mostly panned for nabbing under 6% of audience share, as well as for its content. Beppe Severgnini, editorialist for Italy's largest newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, called it "propoganda", while anti-corruption prosecutor-turned-politician Antonio Di Pietro called it tantamount to "snake charming". Andrea Pamparana, one of the TV programme's producers, defended Berlusconi, tweeting, "...this trial is a farce. And today, only the prosecutor's papers were read".

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