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Berlusconi Acquitted of Bribery Charges

A Milan court has acquitted Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of corruption charges.

The court cited the statute of limitations in dropping one charge against Mr. Berlusconi, then acquitted him on a second count of graft.

In a written statement, Mr. Berlusconi welcomed the verdict as better late than never.

Attorneys for the Italian leader say they will appeal the statute of limitations ruling in efforts to have the court fully clear Mr. Berlusconi.

The verdict is a major victory for the prime minister after a four-year trial on charges of paying bribes to help his business interests.

Prosecutors had sought an eight-year sentence for Mr. Berlusconi over charges he bribed judges in 1985 to block the sale of a state-owned food company S.M.E. to a rival firm.

Mr. Berlusconi had rejected the charges, saying the case was politically motivated.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.