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Berlusconi calls George Clooney to his defence

Sex trial witness request 'odd', admits Hollywood star

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Silvio Berlusconi has named George Clooney as a defence witness in his forthcoming trial for sleeping with an under-aged prostitute, Reuters reports.

The lively Italian PM is accused of bedding 17-year-old Moroccan night-club dancer Karima el Mahroug, aka "Ruby the Heartstealer", at a "bunga bunga" party at his villa near Milan.

Ruby told prosecutors that Clooney and Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis, the Hollywood star's current squeeze, were at one of Berlusconi's Bacchanalian bashes – a claim Canalis denies.

Clooney is a bit nonplussed. He said in a statement: "It seems odd since I've only met Berlusconi once and that was in an attempt to get aid into Darfur."

The trial is due to kick off on 6 April. If Clooney does jet in for the proceedings, he'll be able to talk Darfur with fellow witness Mara Carfagna, equal opportunities minister and "former topless model". ®

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