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Culture

Defence wants Clooney, Ronaldo to testify at Berlusconi sex trial

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-29

Defense lawyers for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are seeking Hollywood star George Clooney and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo as potential witnesses in the embattled premier’s underage prostitution trial.

AFP - Hollywood star George Clooney and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo could testify in Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's defence in his upcoming sex trial, a lawyer told AFP Tuesday.

Clooney and his girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis, according to the defence, were among those who attended parties at Berlusconi's villa at Arcore which the prosecution says was the scene of orgies and strip-shows with prostitutes.

The 74-year-old premier is to stand trial on April 6 for allegedly having paid pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed "Ruby the Heart Stealer", for sex when she was 17, after one of his parties.

"We have proposed George Clooney as a witness," the lawyer said. "Ruby says both Clooney and Canalis were at a party at Arcore."

The voluptuous dark-haired dancer also says she knows Real Madrid player Ronaldo. She told investigating judges she had sex with him after meeting him in a Milan nightclub in January 2010.

Currently the highest-paid footballer in the world, Ronaldo has denied ever meeting Ruby or giving her 4,000 euros in cash for her sexual services.

The defence team have argued that Ruby and other would-be starlets have lied over Berlusconi's alleged nights with prostitutes and raucous parties with orgies and guests dressed up as nurses or policewomen.

The Milan judges may decide not to grant the proposed witnesses if they decide their testimony is not relevant to the case in question.

Clooney is no stranger to Italian courts. In 2010 the 49-year-old Hollywood heartthrob starred in a real-life courtroom comedy when he appeared at the fraud trial of three people accused of co-opting his name for a fashion label.

The Golden Globe-winning actor has a house on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, not far from Berlusconi's private villa at Arcore, where he spends several months a year, sometimes with Italian model and actress Canalis.

The sultry Canalis, who started her career as a dancer, is also on the list of 78 witnesses the premier's legal team would like to call in Berlusconi's defence.

The prosecution has submitted a list of 136 witnesses, including 49 girls who attended the billionaire media magnate's parties, some of whom have provided photographic and video evidence of the raunchy evenings.

Berlusconi is accused not only of paying for sex with Ruby but also improperly using his power as prime minister by asking police to release her after she was arrested for suspected theft in May.

Using the services of prostitutes is not a crime in Italy, but paying for sex with a girl under the age of 18 is illegal. Berlusconi has denied ever paying for sex, let alone with Ruby, who turned 18 in November 2010.
 

Date created : 2011-03-29

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