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NYT || Berlusconi to Face Trial in Prostitution Case

ROME -- A Milan judge on Tuesday ordered Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial in April on charges of paying an underage nightclub dancer for sex and abusing his office to help release her from police custody when she was detained for theft, Italian news media reported.
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The Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Feb. 9 in Rome.

The fast-track trial is expected to begin on April 6, according to news reports citing a statement by the Milan judge.

Mr. Berlusconi denies wrongdoing. After the decision on Tuesday, he did not appear at a scheduled news conference in Sicily, where Italy is seeking to stem a flow of more than 5,000 illegal immigrants from Tunisia.

Ever since prosecutors announced last week they would call for an expedited trial, saying they had enough evidence to waive preliminary hearings, Mr. Berlusconi has fought back in the media, accusing the judiciary of a "moral coup" against his leadership.


The trial would not be Mr. Berlusconi's first. Over the years, he has emerged largely unscathed from a dizzying list of legal troubles, including charges of corruption, tax evasion and bribing judges. In each case, he was either acquitted on appeal or the statute of limitations in the cases ran out.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Feb 15th, 2011 at 06:57:38 AM EST

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