Brindisi: 7 acquitted of charges by ex-prosecutor

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Nine years after the Brindisi magistrate’s lawsuit. They had referred to the investigations of the financial police (Guardia di Finanza) into the licentious dinner parties organized by the businessman Tarantini.

On the 31st January 2020 seven journalists from Puglia were acquitted by the Lecce Court of Appeal, after being found guilty at first instance by the Lecce Court, on the 2nd July 2015, on the charge of having defamed the former State Prosecutor of Brindisi, Cosimo Bottazzi, now deputy general prosecutor at the Bari Court of Appeal.

Acquitted “because the defamation didn’t take place” Marco De Marco, Nazareno Dinoi and Valentina Marzo, respectively chief editor of the Corriere del Mezzogiorno and collaborators. Instead Gianmarco Di Napoli (editor of the newspaper Senzacolonne), Roberta Grassi (Ansa, Nuovo Quotidiano di Puglia), and Giuseppe De Tommaso (editor of the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno) were acquitted because “the action does not constitute a crime”.

In 2011, the journalists had picked up and published the news from the news agencies that reported an investigation by the financial police (Guardia di Finanza) on a dinner attended by Bottazzi when he was a prosecutor in Brindisi, which took place in Rome on March 4th 2009.

According to financial police after dinner the guests had entertained with three prostitutes at the Hotel Valadier.

THE INVESTIGATION. The investigation by the Bari Prosecutor’s Office which the journalists had written about, resulted from the revelations of Patrizia D’Addario, a former prostitute from Bari, was entitled “Escort”, and resulted in two different trials. Among the others was Silvio Berlusconi, at the time president of the Council of Ministers, accused of inducing individuals to make false statements to the judicial authority and Gianpaolo Tarantini, a former entrepreneur from Bari, already found guilty at first instance for recruiting and aiding prostitution.

According to the investigative documents, in 2009, the former prosecutor of Brindisi Cosimo Bottazzi also gravitated around the ‘court’ of Tarantini.

The seven journalists wrote about it in 2011, including some pieces of information from the financial police related to a dinner in Rome, where seated at the same table, in addition to the magistrate was , the Finmeccanica manager Rino Metrangolo and the managing director of the Icos Sporting club Marco Macchitella. According to the prosecutor of Bari, there were in all two paid sexual encounters in which Bottazzi participated; the one that followed the dinner at the Hotel Valadier in Rome and another.

According to the financial police , after dinner the guests entertained with three prostitutes, Fadoua Sebbar, Niang Kardiatou (called Hawa) and “Emiliana” hired by Tarantini, who did not attend the alleged dinner: “Except for Emiliana – writes the prosecuting magistrate Giuseppe De Nozza – the women spent the night in the company of the men, prostituting themselves at the Hotel Valadier “, where Tarantini had three rooms reserved in the name of Metrangolo. Cosimo Bottazzi, current deputy attorney general at the Bari Court of Appeal, defended by the lawyer Francesco Paolo Sisto, has always insisted he does not know the former businessman Gianpaolo Tarantini.

But according to the Court of Appeal which acquitted them, the reporters accurately reported some excerpts from the information of the financial police which described the composition of the dinner table at the Hotel Valadier and the sexual encounters that followed.

The journalists were defended by lawyers Massimo Manfreda, Viola Messa, Amedeo Di Pietro and Michele Laforgia.

Marilù Mastrogiovanni (wt)

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