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This is one of the main technicalities in following Berlusconi's trials. He has almost never appeared in court through the use of impediments to prolong his trials indefinitely, all the while fabricated laws or decrees to reduce the statutes of limitations or, as below, changing the cards on the table to invalidate the trial(s).
If the trial is held in contumacia it can no longer be blocked by impediments of the defendant, thus depriving Berlusconi of a precious arm to drag out the trial.
This charade has been carried on the past two decades by Berlusconi or his cohorts- Cesare Previti, above all- with varying success in quashing trials.
Berlusconi may also enter a plea bargain within thirty days with the automatic reduction of his sentence by one-third. This tactic might permit him to continue to run for office. It is unlikely he will use this expedient as he is prone to wage war to get his way.
There have been several laws proposed by his mignons since October to quash this impending trial. One law simply proposed to change the jurisdictions for sexual crimes making it a crime subject to local authority. In this hypothesis the charges of statutory rape would have been under the jurisdiction of Monza rather than Milan. I really see no advantage in this solution other than buying time.
Another proposed bill would make it difficult, if not impossible, for prosecutors to challenge a law in court to force a ruling by the supreme court. Since most of Berlusconi's ad personam laws are anti-constitutional, they get shot down. However in the meantime they have assorted their effects.
His situation is difficult as far as decrees go as the President of the Republic has made it clear he will not sign ad personam laws again. Berlusconi uses decrees to create irrevocable situations. A decree has a short life if not converted into law but its effects remain regardless.
This afternoon Berlusconi has put a vote of confidence on an omnibus law in the Senate. It no doubt contains articles that are designed to through a wrench into the present situation. The bill will have no problem passing the Senate. However, if it must go through the House, it will be very risky. I'll let you know when there is more information on this.
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