Italy's Meloni seeks symbolic compensation from suspects over deepfake porn images

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni has been asked to testify in court July 2 in the trial of two men who are accused of making deepfake pornographic images using her face and posting them online.

Meloni, who is listed as an injured party in the trial in Sassari in Sardinia, is seeking 100,000 euros ($108,212) in symbolic damages and will donate any award to an Interior Ministry fund for women victims of domestic violence, her attorney Maria Giulia Marongiu said in an email Friday to The Associated Press.

“The crime in question is particularly odious, as it allegedly involves the uploading of fabricated pornographic images that could affect any unsuspecting woman with damaging consequences for her reputation and private life,” Marongiu said.

“Given the role played by Giorgia Meloni, it seemed all the more fitting that she should be a civil plaintiff, in the hope that this would be useful in raising awareness of the issue also on behalf of the many women who often remain defenseless.”

According to the ANSA news agency, Italy’s postal police in 2020 identified the father and son who allegedly uploaded the deepfake images to a U.S.-based porn site by tracing the data to one of their cell phones. At the time Meloni was not premier, but head of her Brothers of Italy party.