By Barbie Nadeau and Michael Pearson, CNN
updated 10:55 AM EST, Thu March 7, 2013

silvioberlusconiRome (CNN) — Silvio Berlusconi’s long strange trip through Italian politics — and the nation’s justice system — reached another stop Thursday as a Milan court sentenced the former prime minister to a year in prison for publishing secretly recorded details of a political rival’s telephone conversations.

The conviction comes less than two weeks after Berlusconi came in a seemingly improbable second among voters as he tried to win back his old job.

Whether Berlusconi, 76, will ever set foot in prison is questionable. Berlusconi has been charged and convicted before but has never served time. Previous charges have either been overturned on appeal or dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.

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