ROME (Reuters) - One of the young women who attended Silvio Berlusconi’s “bunga bunga” parties told a court on Friday that she dressed up as a burlesque version of U.S. President Barack Obama to entertain the former Italian prime minister.
In testimony during a trial against the 75-year-old Berlusconi on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute, Marysthell Polanco said she had also dressed as prosecutor Ilda Boccassini.
Boccassini, known as “Ilda the Red” because of her hair colour and what Berlusconi says is her communist political sympathies, is one of the prosecutors in the ongoing trial.
“I dressed up as Boccassini with a toga to make him laugh, and also as Obama,” Polanco told the court.
Polanco, a striking 28-year-old from the Dominican Republic, said the parties were innocent fun accompanied by burlesque, but not pornographic, entertainment.
In April, Berlusconi said the parties were “elegant dinners” where there was sometimes entertainment that he called a “burlesque game”.
Previous witnesses who attended his parties painted a more sordid picture, including nudity, mimicked sex, and one described two women wearing nasty versions of nuns’ habits performing a raunchy pole dance.
Berlusconi is charged with paying Moroccan-born Karima El Mahroug for sex in 2010, when she was 17, and then abusing the powers of his office by getting her freed from police custody after she had been arrested for theft.
Berlusconi denies all wrongdoing.
He had a close rapport with former U.S. President George W. Bush, earning several invitations to Washington and even to his Texas ranch, but he never was able to establish a similar relationship with Obama after repeatedly describing him - and later his wife - as “suntanned”.
Reporting by Manuela D'Alessandro; Writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Mark Heinrich