Berlusconi confident he will be acquitted in Ruby sex trial

'I'm being persecuted but Italians are with me'

Berlusconi confident he will be acquitted in Ruby sex trial

(see related story) (ANSA) - Paris, August 10 - Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has said he is confident that he will be acquitted in a trial in which he stands accused of paying for sex with a Moroccan dancer when she was underage. "I have always been acquitted, and it will be the same thing for the Ruby case," Berlusconi said in an interview with French daily Liberation, referring to the stage name used by the Moroccan dancer, Karima "Ruby" El Mahroug. "An extremist and politicized part of the Italian judiciary started to persecute me when I entered politics and it never stopped. Italians understand this, they are with me," Berlusconi said in the interview published Friday. Prosecutors say Berlusconi had sex with 33 prostitutes at his villa over the course of several evenings, including the then underage Ruby, and that he then abused his office to try and cover it up. Berlusconi has stressed that both he and Ruby deny the charges and says he is the victim of biased prosecutors. The charge of having sex with an underage prostitute carries a jail term of up to three years, and abuse of office 12 years. The Ruby trial opened last April and could run for years.

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