TODAY   |  June 25, 2013

Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to 7 years in prison

The former Italian prime minister was convicted of paying a minor for sex and declared guilty of abusing his office. But is it likely he will serve prison time? NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports.

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>>> an italian court convicted silvio berlusconi . michelle is live with the story. good morning.

>> hey savannah. italians are split over this. be berls skoeny has been convicted before. this time it's abuse of office. paying a minor for sex at the bunga bunga parties. judges gave him a longer sentence than prosecutors asked for.

>> all three judges were women who handed down a heavy helping of justice to 76-year-old former prime minister silvio berlusconi . now guilty of paying a 17-year-old run away for sex during berlusconi 's world famous bunga bunga parties in his basement. guilty of abusing his office. for getting her out of jail when she was arrested for stealing money.

>> berlusconi had ruby immediately released.

>> reporter: prosecutors say the billionaire paid ruby nearly $100,000 at least to keep quite. though both she, now a married mother, and he staying at his villa with his new 27-year-old girlfriend deny they ever slept together. berlusconi 's sentence, 7 years in prison and lifetime ban from holding political office . however the sentence doesn't take affect until after his appeals, sure to take years. the decision as polarizing as the man himself. berlusconi became a politician to avoid going to prison. one man yelled at another outside court. this woman's sign calling it a verdict that saves italy's dignity. while his many supporters in the government cry politics.

>> there's not even a crime and there is a sentence that is 100% poll situation, it's political prosecution of mr. berlusconi .

>> he'll likely never see one day in prison but for many italians this is closing a door on something embarrassing to them. last year berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud but now it remains to be seen whether his angry political party makes any moves that could shake up the government here, matt and savannah.

>>> michelle kosinski , thank you so much.