Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Kerry, Ban announce 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

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

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi makes rare court appearance for fraud case

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi denies paid sex with 'Ruby' 13 times

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Overhaul of judicial system approved

    Read more

COMMENT(S)