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Lawyer: Gucci Ex-Wife a Victim

October 29, 1998 GMT

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ A lawyer for the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci insisted Wednesday she was a victim of blackmail and described her as a ``golden cow″ milked by her co-defendants in the trial for the slaying of the fashion mogul.

``Who in their right mind would go out and advertise a murder and then go ahead and commit it? It isn’t credible,″ said the lawyer for Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli, Gianni Dedola, during his closing arguments in the case.

The prosecution contends that Reggiani Martinelli contracted the killing to gain control over Gucci’s multimillion-dollar estate.

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The defense admits she threatened Gucci and repeatedly sought someone to kill him, but never went through with the plan.

Gucci was shot to death March 27, 1995, outside his Milan office.

His ex-wife is on trial for premeditated murder along with four alleged accomplices. Prosecutor Carlo Nocerino has asked for life sentences for the five, the stiffest penalty in Italy, which does not have the death penalty.

The case may go to the jury next week.

In his closing arguments, Dedola claimed that Reggiani Martinelli was the target of a scheme to extort money that was hatched by her friend Pina Auriemma, one of her co-defendants.

``In Pina’s eyes, Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli was a golden cow, to be milked for money,″ Dedola said, claiming that Auriemma was the architect and chief coordinator of the murder plot.

Auriemma has confessed she helped find the people who carried out the murder, saying she did it at Reggiani Martinelli’s repeated urging.

During Wednesday’s session, Reggiani Martinelli, 50, had a brief reunion with her two daughters, aged 22 and 17, and her mother.

She has seen her daughters only a few times since she was arrested 21 months ago.