An Italian court has rejected a request from Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to postpone a trial in which he is accused of having sex with an underage Moroccan nightclub dancer, the Financial Times reported.
Berlusconi, who ended his third term as Italy’s prime minister in Nov. 2011, is campaigning for the job again, and his lawyers had asked to delay the trial until after the general elections are held in February, according to BBC News.
According to BBC News:
Lawyer Niccolo Ghedini said Mr Berlusconi would be too busy campaigning to follow the case or attend court - and also feared the trial could influence the election.
“With this decision, the court has interfered heavily in the electoral campaign,” Ghedini told reporters today, according to the Financial Times.
Berlusconi is accused of paying to have sex with Karima El Mahroug, who performs under the stage name of “Ruby Heartstealer,” in 2010 when she was 17, BBC News reported.
The two have denied having sex, though Berlusconi said he sent Mahroug money as a gift, BBC News reported.
The three women judges in charge of the trial did grant another request from Berlusconi’s lawyers – to keep Mahroug off the stand. She was scheduled to testify as a trial witness today, but the judges said they would use statements she had already made to the police instead, the Financial Times reported.
Mahroug told reporters she was surprised and had “wanted to be heard,” the Financial Times reported.
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