An Italian court has told actress Ornella Muti that she could go to jail if she fails to pay damages after being convicted of forging a doctor’s note so she could attend a charity dinner alongside Vladimir Putin.
Muti was due to perform on stage for three nights in December 2010 but called in sick and flew to St. Petersburg to attend the glamorous gala which also featured actor Kevin Costner as well as the Russian president.
The sick note at the center of the case said she was suffering from acute inflammation of the trachea, with a fever, a cough and a hoarse voice. It prescribed five days rest and forbade the actress from using her voice.
Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation has now upheld a 2017 verdict convicting the 64-year-old of attempted fraud. The ruling confirms her six-month suspended jail term, her €500 ($560) fine and that she will have to pay the Verdi theatre in Pordenone €30,000 ($33,715).
The theatre was prompted to take action against the actress after photos emerged of her alongside the Russian president at the event, Corriere della Sera reports.
“I would have gone anyway; I only anticipated the departure given the impossibility to act that evening,” Muti said in her defense.
“It wasn’t an excuse: the show consisted of a shouted monologue over an hour that I couldn’t have supported. But a hoarse voice does not prevent you from attending a dinner.”
The court warned Muti that she would go to prison if she does not pay the compensation. However, at the original trial in 2015, the actress said that she would not be able to stump up the cash.
Italian media is reporting that she was evicted from her home in Rome in 2017 after racking up €80,000 ($89,890) in arrears to an estate agency. Muti starred in numerous Italian films and gained fame outside Italy for her roles in ‘Oscar’ and ‘Flash Gordon.’
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