Silvio Berlusconi in last-gasp bid to avoid expulsion
Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has begged senators not to kick him out of parliament, claiming new evidence proves he did not commit tax fraud, in a last-ditch bid to stave off a vote that could keep him out of public office for years.
Berlusconi claimed that new statements from 12 witnesses and 15,000 pages of documentation from Hong Kong prove he is innocent -- even though his tax fraud trial is over and his guilty verdict has been upheld by Italy's highest court.
Berlusconi wrote to senators from the centre-left Democratic Party and populist Five Star Movement 48 hours before the senate was due to vote on whether to kick him out of parliament because of the conviction. He said Italy's democracy was at stake with the vote.