Lucca’s prosecutor, Letizia Cai, has demanded two and a half years in prison against Mario Cipollini, arguing that the former world champion “is guilty of abuse in the family, stalking his ex-wife and making threats against him.” of the woman’s ex-partner.”
Cipollini – winner of nearly 200 races, including 12 stage wins in the Tour de France and 42 in the Giro d’Italia, and founder of Cipollini Bikes – first appeared in court in March 2019, in response to allegations of violence and stalking related to a series of incidents in 2016 and 2017†
The complainants are his ex-wife Sabrina Landucci – who was married to Cipollini from 1993 to 2006 – and Landucci’s new partner, former football player Silvio Giusti. Landucci’s brother Mario – another former football player – also filed a complaint.
Under Italian law, Cipollini’s charges range from two to six years in prison for assault within the family, and six months to four years for communicating threats.
The prosecutor has pleaded for two years for injuries and threats against Landucci, and another six months for threats against Giusti. Landucci’s lawyer, Susanna Donatella Campione, is demanding €80,000 in damages for her client, in addition to a possible custodial sentence.
The court heard that Cipollini allegedly committed “a series of acts that damaged Landucci’s physical and mental integrity” through “punches, blows, kicks … injuries and death threats”.
The most serious incident before the court is Landucci’s alleged assault at her workplace “in front of colleagues and clients” on January 6, 2017. According to Landucci, “[Cipollini] grabbed my neck and then banged my head against the wall… I had to go to the emergency room.’
Landucci also claims that Cipollini told her, “I will kill you. You hear the sound of the bones as they break.” Other testimonies include allegations that Cipollini stalked her and threatened to “tear” her. [Landucci’s] brains out with his hands.”
In February 2020, Cipollini faced court over an unrelated 2017 incident where he faced allegations that he beat and threatened his sister, Tiziana Cipollini, during a custody battle over his Chihuahua. Those charges were later dropped.
In the three years since the current case opened, a series of delays due to COVID and Cipollini’s ill health have led the cases to a series of intermittent hearings.
During that time, surprising testimonies have emerged, most notably from Landucci’s mother, Giovanna Di Simo, who testified to a history of domestic violence in her daughter’s marriage.
†[Cipollini] held a gun under his pillow. I saw him with my own eyes grab Sabrina by the neck at the bottom of my house stairs and then chase her into the yard, braced on his knee after a skiing accident, armed with a revolver,” she said.
There were also, she said, “phone calls with screams that could be heard even without hands-free, both day and night … text messages sent a hundred times a day. Possessive and jealous. At first he cried and asked for forgiveness, asked her to go home and then he started insulting her and threatening her and all her relatives…when their maid called me and told me to run to Cipollini’s house because she was afraid he would kill Sabrina,” Di Simo said. “I ran there and saw red spots on her neck as if the then husband had grabbed her by the throat. She cried and told me he had pulled her by the hair too. I invited her to the emergency room. but she was afraid, both for us relatives and for not wanting to ruin Cipollini’s career.”
Mario Cipollini denies the charges and tells the court that he never assaulted or beat his ex-wife, never threatened her with a gun and grabbed her by the arm instead of the neck.
His defense team – who have always maintained Cipollini’s complete innocence – will make their closing remarks on July 13, when the verdict is expected to be handed down.
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