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Silvio Berlusconi sex case acquittal upheld by Italy's top court

Italy's highest court has upheld Silvio Berlusconi's acquittal in his notorious "bunga bunga" case, giving the former premier a welcome victory as he tries to rally his Forza Italia party ahead of regional elections in May.

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Silvio Berlusconi's lawyer has argued that there's no proof his client knew Karima el-Mahroug's age before her detention. (Andrew Medichini/Associated Press)

Italy's highest court has upheld Silvio Berlusconi's acquittal in his notorious "bunga bunga" case, giving the former premier a welcome victory as he tries to rally his Forza Italia party ahead of regional elections in May. 

The Court of Cassation rejected prosecutors' appeal Tuesday and confirmed Berlusconi's acquittal on charges he paid for sex with an underage prostitute during sex-fuelled parties at his Milan villa, and used his influence to cover it up.

A lower court had convicted the three-time former premier of both charges, and sentenced him to seven years in prison and a lifetime ban from holding public office. But an appeals court reversed the decision last year.

The high court will issue its written ruling detailing its decision within 90 days.

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