Bribed Lawyer Lied to Protect Berlusconi

Italian PM faces calls to resign after court ruling in corruption case
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2009 6:41 AM CDT
Bribed Lawyer Lied to Protect Berlusconi
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi seen at a joint news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Barvikha residence outside Moscow, Saturday, May 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov, Pool)

Silvio Berlusconi is facing calls to resign as Italy's prime minister, reports the Times of London, after an Italian court found his lawyer guilty of accepting a bribe to protect him from corruption charges. In a 400-page verdict released yesterday, the judges said that attorney David Mills—the estranged husband of a British government minister—lied under oath in two trials to "protect Berlusconi's economic interests," for which he received a $600,000 payment.

Mills was convicted in February and is serving a 4.5-year sentence, which he is appealing. Berlusconi was a co-defendant in the trial until July 2007, when he pushed a law through parliament giving the prime minister immunity from prosecution. Berlusconi denies all wrongdoing, but one opposition politician said, "Anyone who is even remotely suspected of having committed such a serious offense should step down." (More Silvio Berlusconi stories.)

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