ROME – The prostitute at the center of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's sex scandal appeared on state-run RAI television Thursday, saying she never intended the details of their purported encounter to go public.
Patrizia D'Addario said she only turned over to prosecutors audio tapes of what she says was a night she and Berlusconi spent together because she was questioned about it by prosecutors. She says she recorded the tapes to protect herself, not to blackmail the premier.
D'Addario appeared on a prime-time RAI talk show hosted by Michele Santoro, a one-time center-left European Parliamentarian who frequently spars with Berlusconi's conservative government.
The broadcast was clouded in controversy over whether the state-run broadcaster was really fulfilling a public service by interviewing D'Addario and whether it was legal given the ongoing investigation. Berlusconi's political allies declined to participate in the episode.
Berlusconi has said he never paid anyone for sex and has denounced what he says is a media smear campaign against him.
The sex scandal emerged last spring, after Berlusconi's wife announced she was divorcing him, citing his fondness for younger women. Soon after, several young women including D'Addario went public with stories that they were paid to attend parties at Berlusconi's homes by a Berlusconi acquaintance, Gianpaolo Tarantini.
Tarantini has apologized for creating a scandal for the premier. He says he reimbursed the women for travel and other expenses but that Berlusconi never knew about it.
Tarantini has been placed under house arrest in connection with a drug probe. Prosecutors have stressed that Berlusconi doesn't figure into their investigation.