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Italy's Silvio Berlusconi wants to do community service, prosecutor says

By Hada Messia and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
October 11, 2013 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Prosecutor: Silvio Berlusconi has asked to serve his tax fraud sentence as community service
  • A judge will rule on the community service request in the coming days, prosecutor says
  • Italy's highest court upheld Berlusconi's conviction and sentence for tax fraud in August

Rome (CNN) -- Lawyers for former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have asked if he can serve his one-year sentence for tax fraud as community service, Milan's chief prosecutor said Friday.

A judge will rule on the request, received from Berlusconi's lawyers Friday morning, in the coming days, Chief Prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said.

No details have yet been revealed as to what kind of community service it might be, when it might start or where it would be served, whether in Rome or Milan.

Amanpour: Berlusconi turns Italy into a political Circus Maximus

In recent days, Italian media have speculated that Berlusconi might look to carry out a community service order at a church or a refugee center in Rome, both near his residence in the capital.

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Italy's highest court in August upheld a four-year sentence handed down to Berlusconi by a lower court for tax fraud, of which he will serve only one year because of an amnesty aimed at cutting down on prison overcrowding.

He is not expected to serve a prison term because of his age, leaving a choice between house arrest and community service.

Berlusconi, 77, who served on and off as prime minister between 1994 and 2011, has for decades been one of the most colorful and controversial figures in the lively history of Italian politics.

Besides the tax fraud case, he is appealing a prison sentence handed down in June for abuse of power and having sex with an underage prostitute. He has insisted the prosecutions against him are politically motivated.

Last week, he was forced into a political climbdown when members of his center-right People of Freedom Party signaled they would defy his orders and back a coalition government in a crucial confidence vote.

As it became clear that his bid to topple the government was doomed to fail, Berlusconi announced in the Senate that his party would support the confidence motion after all.

CNN's Hada Messia reported from Rome and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London.

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