Berlusconi dental nurse pressured to quit politics over sex case
Nicole Minetti, the former showgirl accused of recruiting high-class escorts for Silvio Berlusconi, is facing growing pressure to resign as a regional assembly member.
Ms Minetti, a TV starlet-turned-politician, is on trial for procuring prostitutes for the former prime minister's 'bunga bunga' sex parties and was allegedly recorded in one telephone intercept describing him as "the love of my life".
Angelino Alfano, the secretary of Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party (PDL), yesterday called for Ms Minetti to resign from her position as a member of the regional assembly of Lombardy.
Last week, Italian newspapers reported that Mr Berlusconi and his colleagues were privately putting pressure on Minetti, a former dental hygienist, to give up her political position, but she was refusing to go.
Previously anointed by Mr Berlusconi as his successor, Mr Alfano said in the interview he had a "strong connection" with the former premier and offered him his full support in what he described as "turbulent times" for the party.
Last week Mr Alfano said Mr Berlusconi planned to contest next year's elections in Italy in a bid to become prime minister for a fourth time.
Ms Minetti last week was due to testify at Mr Berlusconi's trial in which he is charged with paying for sex with under-age prostitute Karima El-Mahroug, known as Ruby the Heartstealer, but she pleaded a council engagement as a "legitimate impediment" that precluded her from testifying in Milan.
Both Mr Berlusconi and Ms El-Mahroug, who was 17 at the time she met the former premier, have denied the charges.
Ms Minetti became a member of Lombardy's regional assembly after catching Mr Berlusconi's eye when he was in power and, according to bank records obtained by prosecutors, reportedly received a total of E402,000 -- some of which was used to pay her legal fees -- from him between 2009 and 2011. (© Daily Telegraph, London)