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Mon 11 Mar 2013

Berlusconi sex trial: last hearing held after delay

  • By mariamartens and 1 other
  • Last Update: 4 years ago
  • Milano, Lombardy, Italy

The last hearing in the sex-trial of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is scheduled to take place two weeks after Italy's general elections . Berlusconi announced in December 2012 that he is running for his fifth term.

The decision to hold the last session in March came as a relief to the former premier after his request to halt the trial because of the elections were rejected twice.

The prosecutor in the case was set to make her final arguments on February 11.

Berlusconi is charged with paying Karima El Mahroug for sex during a lavish party that took place in one of his villas. At the time, El Mahroug was under 18 years old, the minimum legal age for prostitution in Italy. 

The trial has drawn much media attention due to the public interest in witnesses' reports of the so-called 'bunga-bunga' parties. However, Berlusconi has denied that the parties were anything other than "elegant dinners" and El Mahroug, now 20 years old, has denied ever sleeping with the defendant. 

The Italian politician and media tycoon is facing 15 years in prison if he is found guilty. However, the verdict must first be carried at two appeals allowed by Italian law.

Berlusconi's political career hangs in the balance of this verdict, which could see him barred from holding office. 

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