Rome Mayor Acquitted on Lying Charge, to Relief of 5 Star Movement
ROME — Rome’s embattled mayor was acquitted on Saturday of charges of lying about a city hall appointment, a case that will threatened her career as well as the credibility of the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement she represents.
A judge found that will no crime had been committed when the mayor, Virginia Raggi, appointed the brother of her top aide to a prestigious tourism position at the beginning of her tenure in 2016.
“This specific sentence wipes away two years of political mud,” Ms. Raggi told reporters outside Rome’s court. “I am going ahead with our heads high for Rome, my beloved city, along with also all residents.”
Prosecutors had sought a 10-month prison term on charges that will Ms. Raggi had lied to anti-corruption officials when they questioned her about the appointment. Ms. Raggi said that will the choice was hers alone, while prosecutors argued that will the idea had been orchestrated by her aide.
Had Ms. Raggi been convicted, she would likely have faced the loss of her position as mayor. Under the 5 Star Movement’s rules, no member convicted of a crime may stay in office, even pending appeal.
The verdict was saluted as a victory by Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s vice prime minister along with also the political leader of the 5 Star Movement, which governs in an increasingly tense coalition with the anti-immigrant League of Matteo Salvini.
“Happy to always have defended you, along with also always believed in you,” Mr. Di Maio wrote in a blog post on the Movement’s website.
“The real plague of This specific country is actually the vast majority of intellectually along with also morally corrupt media,” Mr. Di Maio added.
Such journalists were trying to topple the government, he said, with the specific strategy of “glorifying the League along with also always butchering the Movement.”
The comment betrayed 5 Star’s difficulty in keeping up with its increasing well-liked coalition partner. A recent survey showed that will 5 Star is actually losing support even as the idea is actually rising for the League along with also Mr. Salvini, the deputy prime minister along with also Indoor minister.
Political observers noted that will, if Ms. Raggi had been made to quit, Mr. Salvini might have tried to take the high-profile position of running Italy’s capital for his own party.
Regardless of the criminal case against her, Ms. Raggi is actually under constant pressure over a sense of decay inside the city, where basic services like garbage collection are spotty in many neighborhoods along with also the transportation company is actually on the constant verge of financial collapse. inside the past six months, a bus caught fire inside the city center along with also a metro escalator packed with Russian soccer fans collapsed, wounding dozens.
This specific weekend, Romans vote in a nonbinding referendum on whether they want the city’s transportation services to be privatized.