Intimate details on Berlusconi should be off limits: lawyer

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 29, 2009 at 12:11 PM EST

The public has a right to some information on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's private life, but intimate details should stay in the bedroom, the scandal-plagued leader's lawyer told AFP.

In an interview late Tuesday, lawyer Niccolo Ghedini would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of audio clips said to be from an encounter between Berlusconi and a call girl posted on a left-wing magazine's website last week.

"Italians have the right to know something of his private life," Ghedini said. "But details shouldn't leave the bedroom."

Ghedini said the prime minister would spend part of his August holidays in the earthquake-hit central city of L'Aquila to keep abreast of reconstruction efforts.

He abandoned an earlier plan to rent a house in the area, and will instead stay at the same military academy where he hosted the Group of Eight summit early this month, Ghedini said.

Tens of thousands of people lost their homes in the April 6 earthquake, which claimed 299 lives.

Berlusconi will shuttle between L'Aquila and his villa in Arcore, near his native Milan, Ghedini said.

Observers say the media tycoon wants to project a less flamboyant, more sober image while still dogged by scandals over his association with a teenaged aspiring model and the alleged night with a high-end prostitute.

Ghedini said the prime minister would also spend "a few days" at Villa Certosa in Sardinia, the setting of a series of photos published by the Spanish daily El Pais showing topless women and a man in the nude poolside.

"But after the photos, it's as if his home has been violated," Ghedini said.

The billionaire prime minister has no plans to sell the sumptuous villa, however, having just bought an adjacent plot so that he can expand the park, his lawyer said.




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