Milan

Ruby says she fed prosecutors 'baloney'

Former dancer denies having sex for pay with Cristiano Ronaldo

Ruby says she fed prosecutors 'baloney'

(By Kate Carlisle)Milan, May 24 - The former nightclub dancer Karima El Mahrough told a Milan court on Friday that she never had sex with ex-premier premier Silvio Berlusconi nor with Real Madrid's Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo, for pay or otherwise. "I never prostituted myself to someone so objectively handsome (as Ronaldo), so go figure if I did so with Berlusconi and others," El Mahroug, better known by her stage name Ruby, said. Ruby also told the court that she lied to prosecutors in five interrogations three years ago. In testimony largely filled with responses like "I don't know" and "I don't remember," Ruby, appeared to pull out the rug from under even her previous accounts. "I told a bunch of baloney before, and I am sorry I did it. I am here today to tell the truth," Ruby said regarding questioning that took place from July to August 2010. When asked by judge Annamaria Gatto why "truth" was mixed with "baloney" - pointing out that Ruby even then denied having sex with Berlusconi - Ruby responded, "I can't explain it, but today I am here to tell the truth". El Mahroug testified on Friday at the trial of three people accused of pimping for Berlusconi - retired TV anchorman Emilio Fede, bankrupt ex-talent scout Lele Mora and Nicole Minetti, an ex-Lombardy regional councillor and the ex-premier's former dental hygienist. Ruby, one of many women allegedly procured for sex, was one year below the legal age for prostitution at the time a series of alleged sex parties hosted by Berlusconi took place in 2010. Sex workers can ply their trade legally in Italy from the age of 18. In a related trial, Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with Ruby and for abuse of office when he phoned police on her behalf when she was held on an unrelated theft charge. Phoning from Paris, he told police she should be released to avoid a diplomatic incident with Egypt because she had told him she was a relative of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. In her closing argument at Berlusconi's trial, Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini earlier this month requested that the ex-premier be sentenced to a combined six-year jail term and to be banned for life from public office. Berlusconi claims to be the victim of biased prosecutors, including Boccassini, who have been conducting a what he calls a witch-hunt against him. Both Ruby and Berlusconi have always denied having sex and Ruby has said the ex-premier was under the impression she was in her twenties and not a minor. "He thought I was 23, 24," she said in a recent hearing. The prosecutor contested this at the time, citing a wiretapped conversation of El Mahroug with a friend in which she said "Silvio knows I'm a minor, but I denied this". She told the court she was not telling the truth in that conversation either. "I told lies," said El Mahroug. "For me, lies were an automatic defense mechanism with everyone," Mahroug testified last week.

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