A friend of Silvio Berlusconi on trial for allegedly recruiting prostitutes for the former Italian prime minister's 'bunga bunga' sex parties has attempted suicide in prison.
Dario 'Lele' Mora, a celebrity talent scout who is behind bars on charges of fraudulent bankruptcy, tried to asphyxiate himself with medicated plasters.
The attempt was thwarted by prison guards, according to the Italian prison officers' union.
"He stuck the plasters over his mouth and his nose," the union said. "An officer intervened swiftly and effectively."
The union said it appeared to be more a protest against his incarceration, and a cry for help, than a serious suicide attempt.
Mr Mora has been in a Milan prison since June, when he was remanded in custody on charges of fraudulent bankruptcy concerning his talent scout company, LM Management.
He is said to be depressed and suffering from a range of health problems, which have left him in a wheelchair.
His lawyers have requested that he be released and put under house arrest.
Luca Giuliante, one of Mr Mora's lawyers, said: "We're furious. No one from the prison told us about the attempted suicide. We only learnt about it from the press."
Mr Mora is on trial along with Nicole Minetti, an Anglo-Italian former showgirl who was propelled into politics under Mr Berlusconi's patronage; and Dario Fede, a television presenter on a channel belonging to the former prime minister.
Their trial is running in parallel with a related but separate trial in which Mr Berlusconi (75) is accused of abuse of office and paying to have sex with an underage prostitute. (©Daily Telegraph, London)