[JURIST] An Italian appeals court in Milan on Thursday reduced the sentences for three former aides to Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for their roles in procuring prostitutes for the former prime minister while he was in office. The convictions against former TV executive Emilio Fede and talent agent Dario Mora were modified from forcing women into prostitution to attempting to force them. Although both were originally sentenced to seven years in prison, Fede’s term was reduced to four years and 10 months, and Mora, who was also convicted for business dealings, was given a reduced term of six years and one month. The third aide, former regional politician Nicole Minetti, had her five-year sentence for abetting prostitution reduced by two years. Lawyers for each of the three former aides have said [AP report] that they will appeal the sentences and convictions to Italy’s highest court.
Berlusconi has been at the center of several political scandals, though he has only begun to serve time [JURIST report] in the form of community service for his tax fraud conviction. Having been a defendant [JURIST report] in nearly 50 cases, Berlusconi has avoided prison through successful appeals and expired statute of limitations. In July an Italian appeals court acquitted [JURIST report] the former prime minister in a prostitution case, reversing a lower court conviction for paying a 17-year-old dancer for sex while he was in office and for abusing his power by asking police to release her. As a result of his former conviction, Berlusconi was banned [JURIST report] from holding public office for two years. Last October Berlusconi was ordered [JURIST report] to stand trial for allegedly bribing a senator to switch political parties. In March 2013 Berlusconi was convicted [JURIST report] of breaking secrecy rules by publishing the transcript of a taped phone conversation between him and a political rival.