Milan, June 28 - The former talent scout on trial for allegedly procuring prostitutes for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's so-called 'Bunga Bunga' parties told a court on Friday that words he had read in newspaper articles, "excess, abuse of power and decadence," were accurate descriptions of the evenings. "I was an innocent bystander," Lela Mora said. Shortly after, during a trial break, Mora apparently back-peddled, saying that there had never been sex parties at Berlusconi's Arcore villa. He said that while he had taken "young women to dinner" at Berlusconi's, "there was never anything (seedy). Prostitution at Arcore never happened". Mora asked journalists in the Milan court Friday to "forgive him" for past comments against them. Lele Mora told reporters that he was "ashamed of the controversy" he had kicked up and his previously unfavorable accusations "against journalists and communists". "I want to apologize without ifs or buts," the now-bankrupt talent scout said. Mora is one of three defendants in the trial dubbed Ruby 2. The others are ex-Lombardi regional councillor and the ex-premier's former dental hygienist Nicole Minetti and TV anchorman Emilio Fede. A Milan court on Monday found Berlusconi guilty in another trial called Ruby 1 of charges he paid for sex with an underage prostitute, who went by the name of Ruby but whose real name is Karima El Mahroug, and abused his power to try to cover up the affair. The ex-premier was handed a seven-year sentence that he said he would appeal.
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di Giovanni Pastore