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Berlusconi's 'bunga bunga' women testify at his trial

By Hada Messia, CNN
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Mon April 16, 2012
Dancer Karima el Mahroug said she never had sex with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Dancer Karima el Mahroug said she never had sex with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A woman describes lewd dancing at a party she attended, Italian media report
  • Berlusconi admits paying witnesses but says he did nothing improper
  • Prosecutors accuse the former prime minister of having illicit sex with "Ruby the Heart-stealer"
  • Both Berlusconi and Ruby deny they had sex

Rome (CNN) -- Women danced in their underwear at a "bunga bunga party" held by Silvio Berlusconi, a woman testified Monday at the former Italian prime minister's trial on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute, Italian media reported.

Imane Fadil said women dressed as nuns removed their habits as they danced at the party in February 2010.

She was embarrassed and asked to leave the party, but Berlusconi persuaded her to stay, showing her around his villa and giving her gifts including a watch, rings and cash, she told the court, according to Italian media.

She said Berlusconi had promised her a job at one of his television stations, but it never materialized.

The hearing is the latest in a long-running case around dancer Karima el Mahroug, nicknamed "Ruby the Heart-stealer."

Prosecutors say Berlusconi had sex with her 13 times when she was underage and abused his power as prime minister to get her out of jail when she was held on suspicion of theft.

Berlusconi defends bunga bunga parties
Italians say 'bye-bye' to Berlusconi
Berlusconi's gaffe-tastic moments

He denies the charges.

El Mahroug has said that she never had sex with Berlusconi and that she lied to him about her age, telling him she was 24.

Berlusconi acknowledged in an interview over the weekend that he had paid some of the witnesses but said there was nothing improper about the payments.

He said he had given the money to people who had been unfairly hurt because of their association with him.

"All of my guests have had only the fault of having been invited to dinner by the prime minister and have been swept into a colossal media lynching operation," he told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale on Saturday.

"Having the means, when I find myself in front of dramatic and touching cases, I don't hesitate to act, " Berlusconi said.

Ambra Battilana and Chiara Danese were also due to take the stand on Monday.

Berlusconi resigned as prime minister in November over his country's debt crisis, bringing to an apparent end an 18-year era in which he dominated Italian politics.

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