MILAN (AP) — The Milan court that convicted Silvio Berlusconi of paying an underage prostitute for sex at his infamous Bunga Bunga parties said Thursday in remarkably raunchy detail that proof of intercourse wasn't necessary to find him guilty.
The court, in a 326-page document supporting the June 24 conviction, seven-year jail sentence and life-time political ban, said all it needed was evidence that the former premier's "sexual instincts" were stimulated in exchange for payment.
"Indeed, stripping, nude dancing, revealing breasts and buttocks while winking, displaying their nudity for the defendant at close range, are all behaviors objectively suitable for stimulating the sexual instinct of Berlusconi," the court said.
It cited testimony that the evenings culminated with physical contact with Berlusconi "such as rubbing, fondling of breasts and intimate parts and groping buttocks, hips and thighs."
The court noted that the Moroccan teen at the center of the scandal, Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby, received $3,000 cash every time she attended a Bunga Bunga party, plus jewelry and a lump sum of 57,000 euros purportedly to open a beauty salon, in exchange for sexual favors. The court asserted Berlusconi was aware she was a minor — 17 — at the time of the 2010 encounters.
Both Berlusconi, 77, and el-Mahroug, 21, have denied having had sex. Berlusconi firmly denies the charges, including one that he used his influence to force a public official to cover up the under-age prostitution charge, and claims that the case is part of a judicial plot to sideline him politically.
Berlusconi's defense lawyers called the reasoning "surreal" and expressed confidence the verdict would be overturned on appeal.
The filing of the court's reasoning paves the way for Berlusconi's defense to appeal the verdict and sentence. It also comes just a week before the Senate is expected to vote on whether to expel him on the basis of a tax-fraud conviction that was confirmed this summer by Italy's highest court.
Berlusconi, who has no role in government, has been weakened by the judicial woes as well as his failed attempt to bring down the government last month. In a bid to recoup his past glory, Berlusconi has relaunched the Forza Italia party that catapulted him to political power two decades ago, some of his closest allies abandoned him to start their own center-right party. The breakaway group said Berlusconi's judicial fate cannot decide whether the struggling government survives.
Neither Berlusconi nor el-Mahroug testified in the under-age prostitution trial.
El-Mahroug, however, did testify in the trial of three Berlusconi aides who were convicted in July of procuring prostitutes for the parties. She told that court that Berlusconi's disco featured aspiring showgirls dressed as sexy nuns and nurses performing striptease acts, and that one woman even dressed up as President Barack Obama. She denied she had ever acted as a prostitute, and any claims she had made to others about having sex with Berlusconi or receiving millions of euros from him were lies intended to inflate her own importance.
The court concluded Ruby had prostituted herself in other situations and was a participant in the sexually charged Bunga Bunga parties, at one point telling another young woman "Now I dance, then strip, then have sex."
The court said the details of the sexual encounter with Berlusconi are "irrelevant," rather it was sufficient that she was "trading her body in any way for remuneration."
El-Mahroug has not been charged with any offense.