Italian prosecutors file trial request against PM Berlusconi

MILAN, ITALY: Milan prosecutors on Wednesday filed a trial request against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in relation to the underage prostitution and abuse of power accusations, the ANSA news agency reported.

Prosecutors filed a 782-page request in which it was specified that they have found evidence regarding the two alleged crimes. In addition, prosecutors said that the PM should be tried in a criminal court and not in a special court.

The accusations against Berlusconi carry prison terms of three and twelve years respectively. Berlusconi is accused paying to have sex with a Moroccan belly dancer who goes by the name of Ruby who was 17 years old at the time.

In addition, Berlusconi, 74, allegedly committed abuse of power as he phoned police in May and told them the woman they had detained over an allegation of theft was the granddaughter of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The Premier claimed that he made the call as Ruby told him she was Mubarak's granddaughter and she was 23 years old. Both Berlusconi and Ruby (whose real name is Karima El Mahroug) denied having sex.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that the trial request was disgusting and a farce. He also added that the prosecutors' actions were a disgrace and not competent in the case.

Berlusconi added that he will sue the Italian state in order to make the prosecutors pay for their actions. He said the accusations against him were groundless and did not bother him at all.

"I'm not worried about myself. I'm a rich man who can move on to building hospitals for children as I have always desired," said PM Berlusconi.

A judge will analyze the evidence and the trial request document and will decide whether the PM should stand trial in less than a week. If the process continues it is expected that the trial will begin in April or May.

On Sunday, hundreds of protesters demanded the resignation of the PM near Berlusconi's villa. The protesters clashed with police officers near the Villa San Martino, the residence of Berlusconi.

The event was organized by the Purple People, an anti-Berlusconi group on the Internet. The demonstration had the participation of prominent Italian figures such as writer Umberto Eco.

The premier is involved in two other trials in Milan, one for allegedly bribing British tax lawyer David Mills for favorable testimony and one for other alleged irregularities committed by a Mediaset unit.


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