Rome

Berlusconi says he has 'much hope' in Letta's government

Ex-premier downplays legal hassles

Berlusconi says he has 'much hope' in Letta's government

Rome, June 5 - Despite his many legal distractions created by allegedly malicious judges, ex-premier Silvo Berlusconi said Wednesday that he has still been able to maintain focus on his political duties. And he has "much hope" in the future of the coalition government pulled together by Premier Enrico Letta of the centre-left Democratic Party, he added. "Despite everything that was thrown on me in the legal field, we have kept the rudder straight supporting this government," Berlusconi told T9, a Rome-based local TV channel. Letta's government, which is backed by a seemingly unnatural alliance of Berlusconi's centre-right PdL and the PD, was formed in April to end two months of deadlock after February's vote produced no clear winner. Berlusconi said Letta's administration was "strong" as the PD-PdL agreement sealed the end of two decades of a "long cold war, a civil war". Berlusconi, who is embroiled in a number of legal cases, has long argued that he is the victim of allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges who he says are persecuting him for political reasons. He is currently on trial on charges that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and abused his office to try to cover up the affair. He is also appealing a four-year conviction for fraud at his media empire and a one-year sentence for publishing an illegally obtained wiretap. The three-time premier also faces indictment for allegedly buying a Senator to help topple a previous centre-left government.

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