One week after he was convicted of helping a mafia boss, Salvatore Cuffaro officially resigned from his post as governor of Sicily. Cuffaro, a Catholic rightwing politician who has long been suspected of being ‘married to the mob’, had initially refused to step down as governor, pending a lengthy appeals process.
However, a widely published photograph of Cuffaro handing out cannoli in his office on January 20, in celebration of the ‘minimal’ five-year sentence, sparked outcry from both his political friends and foes. In an effort to diffuse the controversy, the fallen politician said: ‘Regarding the cannoli, I repeat that I was simply moving the trays that had been given to me as gifts’.
The southern Italian politician was convicted for having informed a mob boss about police surveillance. Had he been found guilty of collusion with the mafia as an organization, he would have received a much harsher sentence. Instead the Palermo court judge said there was no evidence that Cuffaro was in collusion with all of the Cosa Nostra, but was only ‘aiding and abetting’ individual mafiosi.
Following rumours that the government was going to oust him from power after dispensing celebratory cannoli the day after his sentencing, the Sicilian politician resigned on January 26. Despite the conviction, he continues to claim his innocence.