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Clooney brings Hollywood to Italian trial

Actor George Clooney has testified at a fraud trial in Milan and even the judge said it seemed like a Hollywood set.
/ Source: Reuters

George Clooney testified Friday at a trial of three people accused of exploiting his name to promote a fashion brand in Milan.

The 49-year-old actor glided through camera flashes to a packed courtroom to testify as a civil plaintiff in a case dating back to 2008.

"I came here because I believe in the judicial system and because there were people using my name to take advantage of people," Clooney told the court.

The defendants — Vincenzo Cannalire, Francesco Galdelli and Vanja Goffi — have been charged with fraud, forgery and possession of stolen goods. Cannalire was the only one present.

The trial involves a show held in a Milan hotel two years ago. The defendants are accused of using Clooney's name in an attempt to promote a fashion line during the event.

At the hearing, Clooney put on glasses to look at several pictures showing him alongside the defendants, and said they were fake. He provided original pictures of himself to prove his statement.

Clooney turned toward Cannalire after looking at the photos, smiled and said: "Good work. You should be proud of yourself."

Clooney, who wore a blue suit, testified for about two hours. Judge Pietro Caccialanza thanked Clooney afterwards and said: "This hearing lasted as long as a film."

Before he left the courtroom pursued by reporters and camera flashes, Clooney told Reuters: "It was not too tough. It's easy when you can prove that you are absolutely right."

Clooney said his signature had been illegally copied on several documents including a license for a fashion line labeled "George Clooney."

Clooney has become a familiar face in Italy since buying a house at Lake Como, about 40 km (25 miles) north of Milan.