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Berlusconi gets 1 year jail sentence

MILAN (AP) — A Milan court on Thursday convicted former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi of breach of confidentiality for the illegal publication of wiretapped conversations related to a failed bank takeover in a newspaper owned by his media empire.

The court sentenced him to one year in jail, but issued no orders on the carrying out of the sentence. In Italy, it is rare for anyone to be put behind bars pending a possible appeal except in the case of very serious crimes like murder.

Berlusconi's brother, Paolo Berlusconi, was convicted of the same charge and sentenced to two years and three months. Paolo Berlusconi is publisher of the Milan newspaper il Giornale, which published the transcript of the conversation.

Silvio Berlusconi's defense team had accused the court of seeking a speedy verdict for political impact.

Still, the verdict does not directly affect Berlusconi's eligibility to participate in a new government because Italy — despite several attempts to pass such legislation — has no law banning people convicted of minor crimes from parliament. His center-right coalition last week finished third in parliamentary elections that saw no clear winner. Talks on forming a new government are expected to begin March 20.

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