(gualtierocatrame, Ricordando Giovanni Falcone*)
[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - People of Freedom Senator Marcello Dell'Utri has been sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment for collusion with Mafia by the Court of Appeal of Palermo (1). Mr Dell'Utri had previously been sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment by the Tribunal of Palermo on December 2004 (2).
A close friend to the Italian Prime Minister (3), Marcello Dell'Utri was born in Sicily in 1941. Having worked for Silvio Berlusconi during the '70s, he later became President of Publitalia, Mr Berlusconi's advertising company. In 1993, Marcello Dell'Utri had a key role in the foundation of Forza Italia, the political party which successfully launched Silvio Berlusconi as Italian Prime Minister at the General Elections of March 1994 and which got 60 parliamentary seats out of 60 in Sicily at the General Elections of 2001.
Debating the case, the public prosecutor Nino Gatto brought evidence of the alleged relationships between Marcello Dell'Utri and Cosa Nostra (4), asking the Court of Appeal to increase the previous sentence from 9 to 11 years of imprisonment (5). The Court actually rejected the accusations concerning the period following 1992 as "non-existent", thus reducing the jail sentence. Given the punishment cut, the verdict was represented as a matter of fact absolution by TG1, the main Italian TV news program (6).
The Sicilian Senator, who claimed his innocence, reaffirmed that a member of the Mafia dead in 2000, who had worked as a groom at Silvio Berlusconi's residence in Arcore during the '70s and was later sentenced for drug-trafficking, extortion and murder, Vittorio Mangano, is his personal hero, because he refused to accuse him while paying for his sins in jail (7).
To be put into effect, the sentence has still to be confirmed by the Cassation Court. History and literature will not forget to tell the rest.
(*) "Those who nod and shut up die every time they do it. Those who talk and keep their head up die only once (Giovanni Falcone)". Judge Giovanni Falcone was killed by the Mafia on May 23rd 1992, 57 days before his friend and magistrate Paolo Borsellino was killed too, on July 19th 1992. The instigators of the two murders are still unknown.
(1) "Dell'Utri condannato a 7 anni in appello. Il senatore: 'Una sentenza pilatesca'", ilsole24ore.com, June 29th 2010.
(2) "Dell'Utri condannato a nove anni per associazione mafiosa", repubblica.it, December 11th 2004.
(3) Giuseppe D'Avanzo, "L'anello di congiunzione tra i boss e il Cavaliere", repubblica.it, June 30th 2010.
(4) Peter Gomez, "Marcello Dell'Utri e i boss di Cosa Nostra. Dalle agende alle intercettazioni, ecco le prove", ilfattoquotidiano.it, June 24th 2010.
(5) Salvo Palazzolo, "'Dell'Utri il tramite della mafia'. Il pm chiede 11 anni di carcere", palermo.repubblica.it, April 16th 2010.
(6) Carlo Ciavoni, "Il giornalismo secondo Minzolini. Nel TG 'sparisce' la condanna per mafia", repubblica.it, June 29th 2010.
(7) Paolo Colonnello, "I miei giudici, onesti ma senza coraggio", interview with Marcello Dell'Utri, lastampa.it, June 30th 2010.