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Judge nixes corruption plea for ex-Venice mayor

June 28, 2014

ROME (AP) — A judge has rejected a plea deal for the former mayor of Venice accused in a sweeping bribery investigation into the project to build underwater barriers to protect the lagoon city from flooding.

Ex-Mayor Giorgio Orsoni said Saturday he expected the four-month sentence offered by prosecutors would be rejected and welcomed the decision so he can defend himself.

Orsoni was among more than 30 people arrested earlier this month amid suspicions the consortium building the barriers amassed a 25-million-euro ($34 million) slush fund abroad to bribe officials. Orsoni was accused of accepting campaign contributions; he denies knowing the money was illegal.

The scandal is one of a handful of corruption investigations targeting major public works projects that prompted Premier Matteo Renzi to enhance the powers of his anti-corruption czar.

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