Feb 25, 2012

News Alert: Bribery Case Against Berlusconi Is Thrown Out

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Saturday, February 25, 2012 -- 9:38 AM EST

Bribery Case Against Berlusconi Is Thrown Out

A court in Milan threw out the bribery case against the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, on Saturday, saying that the statute of limitations had expired, according to media reports.

Mr. Berlusconi, who had denied wrongdoing, had been accused of bribing a British tax lawyer to withhold testimony to protect him.

The Associated Press reported that Mr. Berlusconi was not in court Saturday afternoon when the court read out its verdict at the trial after about two hours of deliberation.

In the trial, which began in March 2007, Mr. Berlusconi's lawyer had argued that the statute of limitations on the crime had expired.

Prosecutors, however, said say they believed the statute of limitations on the crime will not run out until May at the earliest and they had asked that Mr. Berlusconi be sentenced to five years in prison.

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