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.”