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Judge shaves 6 weeks off Berlusconi’s community service time

February 2, 2015

ROME (AP) — Citing good behavior, a judge in Milan on Monday shaved six weeks off former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s once-a-week community service helping Alzheimer’s patients, the media mogul’s penalty for a tax fraud conviction.

Lawyer Valentina Bolis said the judge lopped off 45 days from Berlusconi’s penalty, meaning he’ll complete the stint in early March. The director of the Milan-area Sacred Family center for elderly and infirm, as well as a social worker who meets monthly with the 78-year-old Berlusconi, were among those providing favorable reports about his service, Bolis said.

A general amnesty reduced Berlusconi’s four-year sentence to one year. His age made him eligible for house arrest, but he was ordered to do community service instead.

The conviction cost him his Senate seat but he still leads Forza Italia, his center-right party. Berlusconi wants to stay influential in politics, and has pledged his lawmakers’ help to Premier Matteo Renzi on the government’s electoral reforms agenda. But he was stung last week when Renzi brushed off his objections to the premier’s choice of a candidate for a new Italian president in balloting in Parliament.

Last year, Berlusconi’s lawyers convinced the European Court for Human Rights to take up an aspect of an appeal related to the 2013 tax fraud condition. Berlusconi has denied wrongdoing in the case, which stemmed from a purchase of TV rights for his Mediaset network.

The France-based court will examine Berlusconi’s claim that fair trial rules were violated.

Berlusconi was ousted from Parliament under a 2012 law preventing anyone sentenced to more than two years from holding or running for public office for at least six years. Berlusconi’s lawyers contend that the law should not have been applied retroactively to him.


Follow Frances D’Emilio on twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio

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