Italy prosecutor admonishes Salvini over mafia arrest tweet

ROME (AP) — Donald Trump isn’t the only politician to court trouble with his tweets.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini received an unprecedented admonition from the chief prosecutor of Turin after he tweeted that police had arrested 15 Nigerian “mafiosi” when, according to the prosecutor, the operation was still underway.

Prosecutor Armando Spataro said Salvini’s premature tweets risked compromising the investigation and violated basic law enforcement norms about what information to release to the public and when. He urged Salvini to refrain from similar messaging in the future “to avoid the risk of damaging investigations underway.”

Salvini, whose rise to national power has been accompanied by his growing use of social media, insisted he had received a text message from Turin police 90 minutes before he tweeted Tuesday, and denied compromising the operation.

He lashed out at Spadaro in a selfie video posted on Facebook, wishing him a long and restful retirement.

Spadaro, who is one of Italy’s most seasoned prosecutors, is due to retire later this month after reaching age 70. He received the backing of other prosecutors for calling out the interior minister, a sign of possible institutional friction with Salvini, the hard-line leader of the League who campaigned on an anti-migrant, law-and-order agenda.

The scuffle, though, didn’t appear to temper Salvini’s tweeting Wednesday.

Salvini praised a major, multinational operation to arrest dozens of people tied to Italy’s ‘ndrangheta organized crime group, then added: “I hope no one gets offended and attacks me for my praise.”

Like the tweeting U.S. president, Salvini is one of the most social media-savvy government ministers, sometimes posting messages in the middle of the night and mixing work with play and occasional photos of a great plate of pasta.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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