Berlusconi avoids rally on advice of lawyers

Supporters call on convicted ex-premier to speak

Berlusconi avoids rally on advice of lawyers

Arcore, July 1 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi opted not to greet members of a support rally outside his villa in Arcore on the advice of his lawyers Monday. Berlusconi, convicted last week of paying for sex with a minor and abusing his office to cover it up, "has been advised by his lawyers" against making a statement, said Senator Mario Mantovani, regional coordinator of Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party. In a closely watched verdict last Monday, judges in Milan sentenced Berlusconi to seven years in prison and banned him for life from holding public office, rulings he will appeal. Berlusconi says he is not guilty and claims to be the victim of a leftist judiciary.

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