A defiant Silvio Berlusconi has told a cheering crowd of thousands of people that he is innocent of tax fraud despite a ruling by Italy's high court confirming his guilt and four-year jail term.
Mr Berlusconi told supporters that he would not resist criticising the judges who made the ruling last week, and declared: "I will say to my so-called judges: I am innocent."
Mr Berlusconi said he continues to support the coalition government of Enrico Letta. He said "we have said loud and clear that the government needs to continue" in order to approve economic measures to help Italy out of recession.
Thousands of supporters bussed in from throughout Italy waved printed signs and cheered Mr Berlusconi.
Mr Berlusconi said the last few days had been "the most anguished and painful of my life".