Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appeared at his own trial on Friday, to hear allegations that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and later abused the powers of his office to cover it up, according to the Associated Press.
The prosecution alleges that Berlusconi had sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl and then tried to cover it up using his position, claiming that the girl was related to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said the AP.
The girl, Karima el-Mahroug, has denied having sex with Berlusconi but said she attended parties at his villas, which have become known as "bunga bunga" parties.
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Berlusconi, who resigned at the end of last year over Italy's economic crisis, allegedly called the police officers who were set to testify on Friday and tried to get them to release el-Mahroug when she was arrested for stealing, said the BBC.
Earlier in the week, Imane Fadil, a Moroccan model, testified about one of the parties involving young women wearing nun costumes and doing a striptease. She said, "They started to dance like the nuns of the film 'Sister Act', and then they took off their clothes," according to Reuters.
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Though he did not address the court, during a break in the hearing, Berlusconi told reporters, "In my house there have only been elegant dinners, and after dinner sometimes we went down to the theater, my children's former discotheque, where there was an atmosphere of good cheer and affection," according to Reuters.
When asked about the costumes, Berlusconi said, "We had burlesque games."
Berlusconi also addressed the accusations that he paid women who were due to testify at the trial to influence their testimony. The 75-year-old billionaire said, "I pay for these girls' upkeep because their lives have been ruined by this trial," according to AFP.
Berlusconi said, "I've come here to see this show, a vast media slander operation."
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