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06/24/2013 03:56 pm ET | Updated Jun 24, 2013

Berlusconi Sex Trial Conviction: Why Italy's Former Prime Minister Will Not Serve His Prison Sentence

An Italian court convicted Silvio Berlusconi of sex with an underage prostitute on Monday, sentencing the former prime minister to seven years in jail.

Since he entered politics in 1994 Berlusconi has already been convicted of 18 years in prison in different trials. However, the flamboyant politician has never seen the inside of a prison cell and it's unlikely that will change after today's conviction.

Berlusconi is expected to appeal his conviction in the coming hours. In Italy, a sentence is suspended for the duration of the appeal as well as during the trial before the Court of Cassation. In the past, Berlusconi always managed to extend trials as long as possible.

In addition, Berlusconi can always count on a law he announced himself in 2005: Convicts older than 70 can't be incarcerated except for violent crimes, ties to drug traffickers or the mafia (neither of these apply for Rubygate). The sentence is changed to probation. Il Cavaliere is 77.

Finally, Berlusconi would still be allowed to take part in a government coalition, if the political parties would agree to that. A government post would give the former prime minister the immunity that already protected him during his previous mandate.

This article originally appeared in French on HuffPost France.

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