Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) December 17, 2009 -- Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Premier, received a severe beating and was kept in hospital for several days. The attacker wielded a miniature statue of Milan's Duomo gargoyle covered cathedral.
Berlusconi had just delivered a long and vigorous speech at a rally, congratulating supporters for his Freedom party. The mugging took place when he had moved into the crowd to sign autographs.
42 year old, Massimo Tartaglia, who has been identified as the attacker, was immediately taken into custody. The police say Tartaglia has no criminal record.
The stunned and badly shaken, 73 year old, mogul premier, with a bloodied face, was instantly shoved into his car after being lifted back onto his feet. He leapt out of the car again, in an attempt to show the crowd he was not badly injure, but his minders quickly hauled him back into the vehicle and rushed him to the emergency room at San Raffaele hospital.
This incident follows a convicted mob hit man bearing witness, that in the 1990's Berlusconi allegedly made a deal with the Mafia, that provided 'benefits' to the Mafia, in exchange for the mob's support in elections. The media mogul entered politics a few months later and won his first term as premier in the 1994 elections.
Charges the premier and Dell'Utri, a long time executive in Berlusconi's business empire, hotly refuse, along with any links to the Mafia. They claim the allegation as totally ridiculous.
Gaspare Spatuzza was a prosecution witness in the appeals trial of Sen. Marcello Dell'Utri, a close political associate of Berlusconi. He was convicted in 2004 of ties with the Sicilian Mafia and sentenced to nine years in prison. Berlusconi has no formal involvement in the trial.
Spatuzza is serving a life sentence for several murders. He testified from behind a white hospital screen set up to conceal him. He was encircled by uniformed and plainclothes police officials, in a high-security courtroom.
Berlusconi faces charges of tax fraud and corruption in separate, unrelated trials in Milan. He claims any wrongdoing in either case.
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