The general prosecutor of Messina declared, “The facts do not support it”. Moreover the Prosecutor Rossi has withdrawn his lawsuit accepting the public apologies of the chief editor of the Civetta di Minerva.
On November 26th 2018, almost seven years after the event, the Messina judge for preliminary investigations, Dr. Monica Marino, acquitted the journalist Franco Oddo , chief editor of the fortnightly the Civetta di Minerva of the accusation of defamation in the press, “because the facts do not exist”. Oddo was defended by the lawyer Glauco Royal.
The trial began in 2012, with a lawsuit filed by the magistrate Maurizio Musco, deputy prosecutor of Syracuse, following the publication in the Syracusan periodical of an investigative article on the somewhat opaque relations between the lawyer Piero Amara and some magistrates of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Syracuse.
In the ruling, the General Prosecutor states that in the articles published in the newspaper La Civetta di Minerva on the 2nd , 16th and 30th of December 2011, the journalist “examined the overall conduct of Musco and in particular the relationships between him and the lawyer Piero Amara, legal counsel of persons involved in various capacities in criminal proceedings managed by Musco” in “a news story which hinged upon the existence of direct and indirect economic links between the lawyer Piero Amara and his relatives and some magistrates such as Musco, relationships that were likely to give rise to doubts that the conduct of the magistrate was impartial”. The judge recalled that these circumstances were proven , among other things, by a sentence of the Court of Appeal of Messina from which showed that “Amara was very close to the magistrate to the extent of making trips with him” and added that the existence of such a friendship should have led Musco to recuse himself from the judicial proceedings in which one of the parties was the lawyer of Amara.
In the opinion of the General Prosecutor, Franco Oddo acted correctly, “he acknowledged in the body of his articles the existence of equivocal relationships between the magistrate and the lawyer, which undermined the credibility of Musco who had instructed proceedings which affected the clients of Amara and which adopted positions favourable to the latter “. It turns out that, contrary to what was claimed in the lawsuit, the author of the article, in writing that “in the deed of incorporation of the company Panama srl based in Priolo in the same house of the magistrate strangely did not bear his name”, was confirming the truth.
A few months earlier , the plaintiff, through his lawyer, had proposed to Franco Oddo to close the case with a reconciliation that was to be achieved through the payment in his favour of 5,000,000 euro, subsequently reduced to 500 thousand euro.
Another lawsuit against Franco Oddo, presented by the former Prosecutor of Syracuse Dr.
Ugo Rossi for the same articles, was withdrawn following a settlement that provides compensation and a public apology for publishing information that was not true. Oddo acknowledged that he had trusted without further verification a source that he believed credible, in writing that Edmondo Rossi, the son of the prosecutor, worked for a company that conducted and transcribed wiretaps for the Syracuse Public Prosecutor’s Office. In an open letter to the Prosecutor Rossi, published by the Civetta di Minerva, Franco Oddo wrote: “I recognize with bitterness and frustration, that the information I had been given was not truthful and I apologize”.