Silvio Berlusconi's political corruption trial has opened in the southern city of Naples, presenting yet another legal challenge for the three-times former Italian premier.
Berlusconi is accused of paying a senator 3 million euros (£2.5 million) to switch parties, weakening a rival government that eventually fell.
Berlusconi, who denies the charge, remains an influential political force despite being stripped of his Senate seat after being convicted of tax fraud last autumn. He still faces a prison sentence in that case.
The corruption case has ignited a new political storm in Rome after the Senate president announced that the legislative body would seek to be a civil party in the case, as permitted by Italian law. Majority whip Pietro Grasso has been accused of partisanship.