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Italy's Top Court Upholds Berlusconi's Acquittal In 'Bunga Bunga' Case

Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, seen here in 2012.
Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, seen here in 2012.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's acquittal in the " bunga bunga" case has been upheld by the Court of Cassation, the country's highest court.

Berlusconi was convicted in 2013 on charges that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and then abused his power to cover up the crime. But last year, an appeals court overturned the seven-year sentence against the controversial former Italian leader. On Tuesday, despite, prosecutors' appeals for a new trial, Italy's highest court upheld the acquittal.

The Associated Press reports that the court deliberated for more than nine hours before releasing its decision late Tuesday local time. The court will release its reasoning within 90 days, the news agency reported.

"It's a great success," defense attorney Michaela Andresano said, according to the AP. "The court accepted our arguments and rejected the prosecutors' appeal."

Berlusconi has always denied the sex charges against him and attributed the case to leftist opponents.

But as we have previously reported, he was also convicted of tax fraud in 2012 and, as a result, banned from public office and expelled from Italy's Senate. Last week, the former Italian leader completed community service for that offense.

Reuters reports that Tuesday's decision gives Berlusconi a political boost. It adds that it comes as "the conservative leader is struggling to hold together his Forza Italia party and maintain a front-line role in Italian politics." The party has lost support since its leader was convicted in the tax fraud case.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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