ROME – The tormented mayor of Rome was found not guilty Saturday of an accusation of having lied about an appointment at the town hall, putting an end to a trial lasting months that had threatened his political career.
Mayor Virginia Raggi has embraced his lawyers after the judge read the verdict that no crime had been committed in appointing a city tourism official.
Prosecutors accused of lying to anti-corruption officials when he insisted that the official's choice – the brother of his principal aide at the time – was his alone. Prosecutors have stated that the assignment was designed by his assistant.
"This verdict wipes out two years of mud", tweeted Raggi. "We continue to head high for Rome, my beloved city and for all citizens."
Raggi has always denied the accusation. If convicted, he could face a 10-month sentence and the loss of his position as mayor. The rules of the 5-star Movement to which it belongs establish that any member convicted of a crime can not remain in office, even pending appeal.
The end of the process removes an obstacle for the mayor, who remains, however, under pressure for a general sense of decay in the Italian capital, ranging from failure to remove garbage from some neighborhoods to breakdowns in the city's transport system, including a fire on an urban bus in the center and the collapse of an escalator full of Russian soccer fans.
The Romans will vote in this non-binding referendum this weekend to find out if they want the city's transport city to be privatized.
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