MILAN, Italy - A court convicted former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi Monday of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute during infamous "bunga bunga" parties at his villa and then using his influence to try to cover it up.
Berlusconi, 76, was sentenced to seven years in prison and barred from public office for life – although with two more levels of appeal before the sentence can become final, he is unlikely to serve a sentence anytime soon.
The ban on holding office could, however, mean the end of Berlusconi's two-decade political career.
Berlusconi holds no official post in the current Italian government, but remains influential in the uneasy cross-party coalition that emerged after inconclusive February elections.
Both he and the Moroccan woman at the center of the scandal have denied ever having sex.
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