Berlusconi sues newspaper for defamation

Italy's Silvio Berlusconi is launching a million-euro defamation lawsuit for stories it ran about his love life, particularly his alleged dalliances with an 18-year old model and a prostitute. He may extend the suit to other European papers.


AFP - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is seeking a million euros in damages for defamation from La Repubblica after it ran a series of stories about his love life, the newspaper reported Friday.

"For the first time in the history of news in Italy, a newspaper's questions will come before a tribunal," the left-leaning daily wrote, referring to its daily list of queries put to the flamboyant premier over a slew of sex scandals that have dogged him for months.

In particular, the newspaper has pressed Berlusconi to explain his relationship with Noemi Letizia, an aspiring model who has claimed to call him "Daddy" and whose 18th birthday party he attended in April.

La Repubblica raised the ante after a high-end prostitute claimed that she spent the night with the prime minister at his Rome residence.

While acknowledging that he is "not a saint," Berlusconi, a notorious playboy, has repeatedly denied having inappropriate relationships with under-age girls.

He has also insisted he has not "knowingly" had insalubrious guests at his legendary parties, a clear reference to call girl Patrizia D'Addario, who claims to have taped her conversations with the 72-year-old billionaire on the night in question.

La Repubblica's questions are "manifestly defamatory (because) the reader is led to think that ... they are not questions but assertions," according to the complaint quoted by the daily.

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