March 19 - Italy's highest appeals court upholds a two-year ban from public office imposed on former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after he was found guilty of tax fraud. Sarah Toms reports.
Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi doesn't have much to smile about. The 77-year-old politician has faced a string of courtcases...but the sentence for tax fraud was his first definitive conviction. He was stripped of his senate seat and sentenced to four years' imprisonment...although the jail term will likely be commuted to one year's community service. Now this court -- Italy's highest appeals court -- has upheld a two-year ban from public office imposed on him. The ban means Berlusconi will be unable to stand in elections for the European Parliament in May. . (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ROME RESIDENT MANUELA DOPPIO SAYING: ''I think Italians are fed up. Berlusconi in politics or not, I don't know. Frankly, for me, he can do whatever, he can run for elections or not run, for me it is the same. I think we Italians are tired. We want to see deeds, not just words.'' Berlusconi appealed the ban, imposed by a Milan court in October. He denies any wrongdoing and says the campaign against him is politically motivated. But despite the continuing legal battles, Berlusconi remains an influential force in Italian politics.