Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said
Thursday he would be taking action against the newspaper Il
Giornale for alleged defamation in relation to its coverage of
his meeting with Rome chief prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi on
Wednesday evening following controversial remarks about
"judicial opposition" to the government of Premier Giorgia
Meloni, which he described as "cordial".
"Yesterday I had a meeting with the Chief Prosecutor of Rome. A cordial and institutional meeting in which we talked about the issue I raised in the interview with Corriere della Sera," said Crosetto in a statement.
"Today almost all the newspapers give a correct representation (of the meeting, ed.). The Giornale, on the other hand, invented a seriously defamatory headline, which is totally false and evidently constructed with the sole intention of smearing (me)," he continued, referring to the headline "Investigation into Crosetto" in Thursday's edition of the newspaper.
"(It is) a very serious act against which I immediately gave instructions to take action in every possible forum," he concluded.
Crosetto was heard by Lo Voi as a person informed about the facts regarding the interview published by Corriere della sera on November 26.
He is not under investigation.
In the interview, the minister said he had "heard about meetings of a faction within the judiciary in which they talk about how to 'stop the anti-democratic drift Meloni is leading us to'".
The interview sparked an angry reaction from Italian magistrates union ANM, with its president Giuseppe Santalucia accusing Crosetto of spreading "fake news which has no foundation and hurts the institutions" and calling on him to "dispel suspicions and shadows".
Opposition parties also condemned the remarks, with ex-premier and 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Giuseppe Conte saying they amounted to accusing part of the judiciary of being "subversive".
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