Berlusconi gets one year in jail

An Italian court sentenced ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday to one year in jail over the publication by his family's newspaper of a transcript of a leaked wiretap connected to a banking scandal in 2006.

Italian justice system rules mean that the 76-year-old media billionaire would not have to serve any jail time until the appeals process has been exhausted, and a higher court may still overturn the ruling.

It came in the middle of a complex political impasse arising from an inconclusive election last week that left no party able to form a government on its own, although Berlusconi’s center-right formation emerged as the second strongest in parliament. Berlusconi is in the middle of a series of trials, with separate cases over charges of tax fraud and paying for sex with an underage prostitute due to wind up this month.

He has denied any wrongdoing in the case and the verdict was immediately criticized by his lawyer Piero Longo, who has frequently criticized Milan judges over the long series of trials Berlusconi has faced over the years. “I’m not surprised, given that it's Milan and it has to do with Berlusconi," he told reporters after the verdict.

“But I am concerned and shocked because I'm quite convinced that the charges against Berlusconi were weak and contradictory and even completely lacking.”

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