Feb. 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM ET
Photographers captured an Italian member of parliament passing the time during a debate checking out one of the many wonders of the Internet on his new government-issued iPad: Escorts available for about $1,600 a night.
If this wasn't red-handed, it certainly should make the MP turn a few shades of red. Especially when a gallery of photos of his ogling was published in a weekly Italian magazine, Oggi.
Simeone di Cagno Abbrescia, 66, showed no such penitence when confronted with his faux pas. He used the oldest excuse in the e-book, telling the Daily Mail:
I was looking at my messages when a window opened up and I couldn’t help looking at the pictures of those lovely girls...I was just being curious. Sometimes you have to be in the house even when the debates are not exciting...Sometimes these messages from girls just pop up when you are looking at your email. I have never been with an escort.
Uh-huh, Mr.Thrice-Married, you keep telling the world that. I'm sure they'll believe you.
The lawyer and former mayor (of southern Italian town Bari) tried to neutralize his indiscretion.
"Look, this is all being blown out of context. We only received the iPads a month ago and my fingers slipped as I was looking for the news pages."
Slipped? The only thing slipping is him, down a slippery slope.
According to Oggi, the objects of di Cagno Abbrescia's curiosity were Dollyy and Daisy (with only one y), who offered themselves as arm candy for dinner and then some (wink wink) at a cost of about $550 an hour (or about $620 for three hours with Dollyy).
As a member of the ruling party, di Cagno Abbrescia was in the chamber to take part in a no-confidence vote on Culture Minister Sandro Bondi, who's been having his own troubles in the city of Pompeii.
What about a no-confidence vote on members of parliament who idle away taxpayer time on their iPads?
The iPad MP is in the same party as Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is no stranger to sex scandals, the most recent instance defending allegations he paid for sex with a nightclub dancer. Dirty-talk recordings between the PM and an escort were also leaked in 2009.
Hmmm, seeing a pattern here?