Silvio Berlusconi acquitted in sex-for-hire appeal case

By Michelle Kapusta,

An Italian appeals court acquitted former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in a prostitution case on Friday.

According to the Associated Press, the lower-court conviction of Berlusconi on the charges that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and then abused his power to cover it up has been overturned.

Reuters noted that the Milan court threw out the guilty verdict, which carried a seven-year prison term and banned Berlusconi from holding office.

The 77-year-old was originally charged with having sex with prostitute Karima el-Mahroug when she was 17. Both he and the Moroccan prostitute, better known as “Ruby,” denied the charges.

"I am deeply moved," Berlusconi said in a statement. "Only those who have been close to me over the years know what I have suffered because of this unfair and disgraceful accusation."

The controversial ex-leader and media tycoon was convicted of tax fraud last year.

Prosecutors in this case are expected to appeal the decision to the Court of Cassation, which is Italy’s highest court.

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