Mediaset’s lawsuits: two former Unità journalists acquitted

The trial against Concita De Gregorio (assisted by Ossigeno) and Marco Travaglio has been underway since 2008. The next hearing is scheduled for November 2019

On Thursday, May 23rd 2019, the third hearing of the libel appeal process was held in which Marco Travaglio (defended by the lawyer Giuseppe Macciotta) and Concita De Gregorio (defended by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro) were charged in a lawsuit brought by Mediaset SpA.

The trial is closely followed by Ossigeno per l’Informazione which, through its Legal Aid Office, has borne the legal expenses of the former chief editor of L’Unità, left to defend herself, together with the paper’s editors, by the publishing company which went into liquidation during the course of the case.

Concita De Gregorio and Marco Travaglio are still formally charged, even if fully acquitted in the first instance, respectively of the crime of lacking control and libel against Mediaset. In particular, the former chief editor of L’Unità had to defend herself against the accusation that she omitted the necessary control to prevent the alleged libel by Marco Travaglio, who, with the article signed by him on the 8th October 2008, and published in “l’Unità “with the title “I’m sorry I confirm everything”, is alleged to have offended the reputation of Mediaset SpA with the following statement: “… Mediaset would have hidden in the following years hundreds of billions of black funds in 64 offshore companies”.

The trial was postponed to November 8th 2019 as the decision of the consultative Committee on the question of the constitutional illegitimacy of article 576 of the criminal code is imminent. According to this article the civil party – which is normally the one offended that asks for damages – can appeal against the acquittal of the defendants only for its civil consequences. This ruling of the consultative Committee is eagerly awaited by the world of the media. If in fact it declares the norm unconstitutional, then in the future the plaintiffs who had intended to propose obstructive or reckless appeals in the court of law will not be able to anymore. The only instrument that will remain for those who find the defendant’s acquittal unacceptable will be the civil appeal, which is less easy because it is more expensive and riskier insofar as it would start from a final and binding acquittal which the civil judge must take into account.

ASP (wt)

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