Rome’s populist mayor cleared in corruption trial

The Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, has been cleared over allegations she lied to investigators during a corruption probe.

Mrs Raggi, who was elected as Rome’s first female mayor in 2016, was accused of promoting the brother of a close aide to a top job within city hall – an allegation which could have plunger her party, the 5-Star Movement, into a major crisis.

Under the party’s code of ethics, elected officials are banned from serving if they have been convicted of a crime, meaning she would have been forced to resign if found guilty. It could also have sparked a deeper crisis for the party, who stood and won on an anti-corruption platform in this year’s general election.

Responding to the news, 5-Star leader and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said: “For two years, ink was spilled over fake news, investigative reporters turned hounds of mafia capitale, editors having a nervous breakdown.

“This country’s real problem is the corrupt media,” he added.

According to reports, Raggi hugged her husband and councillors that had turned out to support her as the judge read out the verdict.The Guardian reports that prosecutors had called for a 10-month prison sentence if she had been found guilty.

After the ruling, Mrs Raggi said: “This sentence wipes out two years of mud-slinging. We’ll go forward with our heads held high for Rome, my beloved city, and for all citizens.”

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