AC Milan owner Berlusconi jailed for seven years

The 76-year-old has been found guilty of sex and corruption offenses and also banned from taking up political office pending an appeal.
AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of charges of corruption and soliciting an underage prostitute.

The 76-year-old was accused of paying for sex with Moroccan girl Karima El Mahroug in 2010, when she was 17, as well as abusing his position in public office for attempting to force her release from police custody over a charge of petty theft.

Although prosecutors sought a six-year custodial sentence for the former Italian Premier, a court in Milan issued a seven-year punishment following the guilty verdict in addition to a lifetime ban from politics, pending any appeal from Berlusconi's solicitors.

His lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, immediately announced an appeal and said the sentence was unjust.

"This is beyond reality," Ghedini told reporters outside the courthouse.

"I'm calm because I've been saying for three years that this trial should never have taken place here," Ghedini added.

Berlusconi holds no official post in the current Italian government, but remains influential after inconclusive February elections.

He is already embroiled in several legal battles in the Italian courts. In Oct. 2012, he was issued a four-year prison sentence for tax fraud, which has been upheld following a first appeal.

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