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Gucci Companion Testifies in Trial

June 10, 1998

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Maurizio Gucci’s former wife once asked a lawyer what would happen if she had the fashion scion slain, a witness testified at her murder trial Tuesday.

Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli is being tried along with four others for the fatal shooting of Gucci in 1995.

Reggiani Martinelli sat impassively during testimony by Gucci’s companion, Paola Franchi.

Franchi testified that a Gucci family lawyer warned that Reggiani Martinelli contacted a fellow attorney to ask what criminal penalties she might risk.

``Maurizio didn’t give any weight to the matter, even though I asked him to hire a bodyguard,″ Franchi testified. ``Evidently, he was used to threats by his wife.″

After Franchi testified, Reggiani Martinelli asked to make a statement to the court, her first words to the tribunal since trial began two weeks ago.

In a low, nervous voice, Reggiani Martinelli reiterated earlier assertions that she regretted making known that she wanted to see her husband dead because, she contended, two of the other defendants then schemed to kill Gucci on their own and extort hush money from her.

``It was a desire that they later carried out, and they began to blackmail me,″ she said.

The prosecution says Reggiani Martinelli had Gucci killed because she was obsessed with gaining control of his estate and he would drastically reduce her alimony. She allegedly paid her co-defendants $300,000 to carry out the killing.

The Guccis were married in 1972 and separated 12 years later. They have two daughters, ages 21 and 16.

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