Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Court rejects Berlusconi's objections

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

Source: Press TV

An Italian court has rejected submissions by the defense team of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, charged with abuse of power and sex-related crimes.

The court rejected the claims by the lawyers of the 74-year-old Italian premier, who challenged the Milan court's right to hear the case, AFP reported.

Berlusconi's defense team presented 16 preliminary complaints, and argued that the abuse of power charge against Berlusconi, which carries a sentence of up to 12 years in prison, should be considered by a special court for ministers, and sex-related charges should be heard by a court outside Milan.

Judge Giulia Turri dismissed the defense motions one by one in the hearing session attended by neither Berlusconi nor the woman at the center of the accusations.

The Italian premier is accused of paying for sex with a Moroccan-born teenager, nicknamed Ruby, at a series of wild dinner parties held at his private villa in the north of Italy.

He is also accused of abusing his power to let the girl get out of police custody in 2010.

"The court considers itself to be competent," the ruling said.

The court set the date for the next hearing for sex crime case on September 19, and the next hearing for the power charge case has been set for October 3.

The Italian prime minister has not made any court appearances since May 16.

Berlusconi told a local newspaper on July 8 that he would not run again when his term finishes in 2013 and named the country's justice minister as his successor.

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