“In all of these years, I have never commented on the many injustices suffered by my father,” said Pier Silvio Berlusconi, the politician and media magnate’s son. “But this time I cannot stay silent.
“I do not expect everyone to know the human side of my father as I do. But I can assure you that this conviction is absurd: the accusation, and I say this with much rage and with tears in my eyes, is so far from and contradictory to the man he is,” he said in a statement released by Mediaset, where he is deputy chairman.
Silvio Berlusconi, owner of Mediaset, is currently appealing a year-long prison sentence and five year ban from public office for company tax fraud. Last month Berlusconi’s conviction was upheld in a Milan court; the final verdict is expected to be announced in the Court of Cassation later this year.
Marina Berlusconi, daughter of the former prime minister, also condemned the sex case verdict. “Do not call it a sentence. Do not call it due process. Above all, do not call it justice,” she said according to Italian daily La Repubblica.
“The sentence was written from the start, in a script staged by the prosecutor of Milan.”
The former prime minister has five children from two marriages; his most recent divorce, from Veronica Lario, was settled last year with Berlusconi paying €36 million after his estranged wife accused the politician of “frequenting minors”.
Both Lario and Berlusconi’s new fiancé, announced in December as 27-year-old Francesca Pascale, are yet to comment on the verdict.
Much has been made of the impact the sentence will likely have on the government, a fragile coalition including politicians from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party. Prime Minister Enrico Letta said he was convinced of “being able to distinguish between justice issues and political issues,” La Stampa reported.
The justice minister, Anna Maria Cancellieri, refused to comment.