Showgirls dressed as Obama, Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho, as well as nuns and nurses at former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's parties. Karima El Mahroug testified about showgirls dressing up at a prostitution trial in Italy.
(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
The nightclub dancer at the centrer of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" sex trial told a court on Friday that guests at the media tycoon's parties dressed as nuns, nurses and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Karima El Mahroug, better known by her stage name "Ruby the Heartstealer", spoke as a witness in a trial at which talent scout Lele Mora, television anchor Emilio Fede and former showgirl and regional councillor Nicole Minetti are accused of inducing and aiding prostitution.
Berlusconi is being tried separately for paying for sex with El Mahroug when she was a minor and then abusing office by having her freed from police custody after her arrest for theft.
Her appearance is nevertheless an embarrassment for the 76-year-old billionaire, serving as a reminder of the legal threats the leader of the centre-right and key partner in the governing coalition faces.
A verdict in the sex trial is expected in June, and a conviction for tax fraud is moving to a final appeal. Berlusconi says he has never paid for sex, denies any wrongdoing and says judges are politically motivated against him.
El Mahroug failed to appear as a witness at Berlusconi's trial in December because she was on holiday in Mexico. In her Friday testimony, she challenged Berlusconi's assertion that events at his villa were elegant dinner parties.
DRESSING AS OBAMA