Karima El Mahroug, the Moroccan woman known as Ruby Heart-Stealer who’s at the center of Silvio Berlusconi’s underage-prostitution trial, said she never had sex with the three-time Italian premier.
“I’m not a prostitute, they must listen to me,” El Mahroug said in comments broadcast by SkyTG24 television during a protest in front of Milan’s main courthouse. “There’s an ongoing war against Berlusconi and I’ve been involved, but I don’t want my life to be destroyed.”
Berlusconi, 76, has denied ever paying for sex and said he thought El Mahroug was 24 in February 2010 when she said she attended at least one of the billionaire’s parties. El Mahroug was 17 at the time. El Mahroug said today she regretted having told lies, including to the former premier.
In addition to the charge of paying for sex with a minor, Berlusconi is accused of abusing his powers as premier when he called the Milan police department on El Mahroug’s behalf after she was arrested for theft. The call was a request for information, Berlusconi has testified. After the call, El Mahroug was released into the custody of a Berlusconi associate.
The former premier is also appealing an October tax fraud conviction which carried a four-year sentence. He has denied wrongdoing in all cases against him.
Berlusconi’s lawyers have claimed that Milan’s courts are biased and have sought to move trials to Brescia, another city in the Lombardy region. The underage-sex trial has been temporarily suspended pending a decision by the Supreme Court on the lawyers’ request. The case will resume April 22, Ansa news agency reported last month.
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