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Moroccan woman at center of Berlusconi sex scandal testifies publicly for first time

The Moroccan woman at the center of a sex scandal involving former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is testifying publicly for the first time.

Karima el-Mahroug took the witness stand Friday in the trial of three Berlusconi aides charged with recruiting her and other women for prostitution. They deny the charges.

El-Mahroug, known by the nickname Ruby Heart Stealer, has made carefully orchestrated statements to the media since the scandal broke but has never publicly given sworn testimony. Both she and Berlusconi deny having had sex.

Prosecutors in Berlusconi's separate trial on charges of paying for sex with a minor and trying to cover it up say her testimony is unreliable and are relying on her sworn statements. That trial is nearing a verdict.