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Italian prime minister loses libel lawsuit

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  1. Libel and Privacy
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered to pay The Economist roughly $35,000 after an Italian court rejected his libel lawsuit, the magazine reported…

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered to pay The Economist roughly $35,000 after an Italian court rejected his libel lawsuit, the magazine reported Friday.

The prime minister had sued over a 2001 cover story that ran with the headline "Why Silvio Berlusconi is unfit to lead Italy." The article reported investigations into Berlusconi’s alleged history of bribing judges, affiliation with the mafia, money laundering and tax evasion.

In finding for The Economist, Judge Angelo Ricciardi wrote that the magazine’s criticism was protected speech under Italian law, Reuters reported.

"[The Economist’s arguments] fully fall within the right to criticise [sic], which is guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution," Ricciardi wrote.

Berlusconi’s attorney told Reuters that he planned on appealing.

Ricciardi’s opinion, in Italian, can be found here.