Court cuts Berlusconi associates’ jail terms in prostitution trial

MILAN (Reuters) – An Italian appeals court on Thursday cut jail sentences given to three associates of Silvio Berlusconi for procuring prostitutes for “bunga bunga” parties at the former prime minister’s home.

The Milan court reduced a jail term given to Emilio Fede, a former newsreader at one of Berlusconi’s television stations, from seven years to four years and 10 months. Ex-regional politician Nicole Minetti received three years instead of five.

Showbusiness agent Lele Mora, previously sentenced to seven years in jail, was given a total of six years and a month after a ruling in a separate court case was taken into consideration.

The three, who have always denied any wrongdoing, were accused of facilitating underage prostitution as part of a case which revolved around former nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, also known as “Ruby the Heartstealer”, who attended the parties as a teenager.

Earlier this year, Berlusconi was unexpectedly cleared of paying for sex with a minor and abuse of office. The court said the billionaire media tycoon had paid for sex with El Mahroug but said there was no proof he knew her age.

Berlusconi, now aged 78, quit as Italy’s prime minister in 2011 during a serious escalation of the euro zone crisis but remains politically active and still leads his centre-right Forza Italia party.

(Reporting by Ilaria Polleschi; writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Gareth Jones)-thestar

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