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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Italian PM calls latest corruption case 'baseless'
Elizabeth Schultz at 11:59 AM ET

[JURIST] Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi [official website; BBC profile], facing possible indictment [JURIST report] for allegedly bribing his former lawyer to give false testimony in two criminal cases, told supporters at a campaign rally in Verona Saturday that the case against him is "...without proof, completely baseless, which however has become a media and political fact," according to the Italian news agency ANSA. Milan prosecutors Friday announced [AP report] they had completed their investigation and would be seeking charges, although under Italian law those can only be laid by a judge after a 20-day period during which defense lawyers can file objections.

This would not be the first indictment against Berlusconi; in September 2005 he was cleared of false accounting charges [JURIST report] and in June 2005 he was acquitted on bribery charges [JURIST report]. The Irish Examiner has more.

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