Berlusconi faces final reckoning in sex scandal
ONE OF the most extraordinary and eagerly awaited trials in recent political history kicks off today with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi facing down squalid sex and corruption charges that could deliver a total of 15 years in prison.
Mr Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute and then lying and abusing his powers to cover it up. He insists the charges are part of a politically motivated attack by leftist magistrates.
At 9.30am today in the midst of a media scrum in the fourth criminal division of Milan's Palace of Justice, prosecuting magistrates will begin arguing their case for the tycoon leader's conviction. Despite 20,000 pages of evidence in their possession, the size of the struggle they face is neatly illustrated by the fact the 74-year-old premier will not even turn up in court to face his accusers.