Karima El Mahroug, better known by her stage name "Ruby the heartstealer", gestures at Milan's court January 14, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo)
The case against former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi continues to get weirder. According to sworn testimony from Karima el-Mahroug, an alleged underage prostitute who participated in Berlusconi's sex parties, the politician hired women to perform stripteases dressed as nuns and Barack Obama.
Yes, that Barack Obama. This is according to the Associated Press via the Washington Post who add that three former Berlusconi aids are on trial for finding and hiring women such as el-Mahroug as prostitutes. They are being formerly charged with recruiting prostitutes, abetting prostitution, and abetting prostitution of a minor.
Berlusconi himself is facing charges for having allegedly having sex with el-Mahroug, then aged 17, which they both deny doing.
In her testimony, el-Mahroug claims she was paid approximately $40,000 to attend these parties over the course of a year. She stated that after each party, she was handed envelopes filled with up to 3,000 euros ($3,900) in cash.
Additionally, she states some of the strippers at these events were dressed as nuns, Obama, and a Milan prosecutor who is after Berlusconi.
"The girls who were dressed in costumes approached him in a sensual way as they danced. They raised their skirts," she said. "I never saw contact."
The parties took place at a disco in Berlusconi's villa, complete with a lap dance pole.
However, el-Mahroug is now denying that she ever acted as a prostitute, and also claims she never had sex with Berlusconi. The presiding judge asked her about wiretaps in which she referred to acts of prostitution, to which she replied her statements where simply "stupid things."
Prosecutors in Berlusconi's trial are saying that el-Mahroug's testimony is unreliable, and are instead using her sworn statements. The defense had initially intended to call her as a witness, but have since changed their minds.
The trial is reportedly near a verdict, and will reconvene on May 24.