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George Clooney on the Witness Stand: Cool, Confident, Wisecracking

U.S. actor George Clooney leaves the tribunal in Milan, Italy, Friday, July 16, 2010. Clooney appeared in court as a witness in a fraud trial against defendants charged with co-opting his name for a line of clothing.
AP Photo/Luca Bruno
George Clooney leaves the tribunal in Milan, Italy, Friday, July 16, 2010. Clooney appeared in court as a witness in a fraud trial against defendants charged with co-opting his name for a line of clothing. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
George Clooney leaves the tribunal in Milan, Italy, Friday, July 16, 2010. Clooney appeared in court as a witness in a fraud trial against defendants charged with co-opting his name for a line of clothing. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

George Clooney knows how to wow an audience whether he's on the red carpet or the witness stand.

According to the Associated Press , Clooney maintained his trademark aura of cool Friday as he testified in Milan against three defendants accused of co-opting his name with the goal of launching a fashion line.

Pictures: George Clooney
Pictures: George Clooney's Italian Villa

Security for the appearance was tight as fans packed the courtroom. The actor had to push his way through a wall of cameras into the courtroom, saying "Scusa, Scusa," -- "Excuse me" in Italian.

Apparently Clooney is rarely seen in public in Italy, even though he has a villa on nearby Lake Como for nine years.

The 49-year-old actor wore a navy blue suit, crisp white shirt and red-spotted blue tie as he addressed the court through an interpreter, throwing in occasional words in Italian and apologizing for his lack of fluency.

He testified that photos that purported to show him with two of the defendants were doctored and signatures on documents also were forged.

Only one defendant -- Vincenzo Cannalire -- attended the trial.

Clooney turned to greet him after recognizing the man from of the photos he was looking at.

"This is the first time I've ever seen him," Clooney said, motioning to the defendant. Then with just a trace of irony, Clooney added, "So I'd like to say hello, nice to meet you."

Two others also charged with criminal fraud in the case are Vanja Goffi and Francesco Galdelli.

Examining photos, Clooney explained why he was not the man in one particular picture.

"Here, for instance. I don't smoke and I don't wear that watch," Clooney said. Then after a pause he added, "I also don't wear long jean shorts."

The signatures on the many documents he examined either were forged or photo copies of his signature, Clooney said, at one point acknowledging "this is my signature, but I didn't sign it."

"My signature is very easy to get, as you can imagine, off the Internet, off eBay," Clooney testified. "You would think if you were going to forge my signature, you would borrow several different versions of it."

After his 90-minute testimony, Judge Pietro Caccialanza thanked Clooney, wryly noting that the session "has lasted as long as a movie."