di Fausto Cicciò
(see related) Milan, May 17 - The former nightclub dancer known as Ruby testified Friday that she never had sex with Silvio Berlusconi, and that the ex-premier was under the impression she was in her twenties and not a minor. "He thought I was 23, 24," said Karima El Mahroug. The prosecutor contested this, citing a wiretapped conversation of El Mahroug with a friend in which she said "Silvio knows I'm a minor, but I denied this". Ruby told the court she was not telling the truth in that conversation. "I told lies," said El Mahroug. "For me, lies were an automatic defense mechanism with everyone". El Mahroug was called as a witness at the trial of three people accused of pimping for the ex-premier. The accused are retired TV anchorman and close Berlusconi friend Emilio Fede, bankrupt ex-talent scout Lele Mora and Nicole Minetti, an ex-Lombardy regional councillor and the ex-premier's former dental hygienist. The trio are charged with the alleged procurement of prostitutes, including Ruby, who was one year below the legal age for prostitution at the time of the alleged sex parties hosted by Berlusconi in 2010. Ruby also denied ever performing erotic dancing at alleged sex parties, and said she only ever made one appearance "in a belly dance," using clothes given to Berlusconi by his late friend former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.