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Vittorio Cecchi Gori vows comeback

Italian producer released from custody

ROME -- Oscar-winning Italian film producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori, who was released from legal custody Tuesday, on Friday proclaimed his innocence and attacked his critics and the Italian justice system as biased against him.

In a scathing 40-minute diatribe in his private cinema in Rome's Renaissance-era Palazzo Borghese, Cecchi Gori, 68, blasted the investigators making the legal case against him, lawyers, the media, and the criminal justice system.

"In Italy, it takes five minutes to be accused and five years to be proved innocent," he told a packed crowd of journalists.

Flanked by four of his attorneys and, briefly, by his off-again-on-again girlfriend, 41-year-old showgirl Valeria Marini, Cecchi Gori said he was more appreciated in the U.S. than in Italy, and said he is demonized in Italy because few in the country understand the creative process.

"Everyone on the street thinks they can make movies, and so they think people like me and my sainted father are frauds," Cecchi Gori said, referring to famed producer Mario Cecchi Gori, who died at the age of 73 in 1993.

Vittorio Cecchi Gori was released after four months in prison and under house arrest on charges of falsifying bankruptcy. The producer behind three Oscar-winning films, including three-time winner "Life is Beautiful," has suffered through years of financial and legal difficulties. But he has maintained his innocence and vows he will re-emerge as a leading figure in the Italian film business.