General

Berlusconi trial begins in Milan

Court adjourned after only eight minutes, Berlusconi a no-show

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s trial on charges of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute opened in Milan on Wednesday, however proceedings were adjourned in less than ten minutes. Neither Berlusconi nor the alleged prostitute, Karima El Mahroug, were present at the trial. Berlusconi faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty, but both Berlusconi and Mahroug deny the charges. Observers are expecting an extended trial full of delays and challenges, with 20,000 pages of evidence and a list of 78 witnesses yet to be examined. Prosecutors allege that Berlusconi, currently a defendant in four different trials, is accused of paying for sex with Mahroug when she was 17.

New York Times

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