Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may face an immediate trial on charges of paying for sex with a minor and abusing his power to obtain her release from police custody.
Prosecutors have requested the trial as they believe they have already have enough evidence to avoid preliminary hearings. A judge now has several days to decide if a trial goes ahead, following which the process could begin in two months.
But the media tycoon denies any wrongdoing, and the latest poll suggests he still has the backing of 34 percent of the electorate.
“I think we should and they should all focus on something else. There is a lot of talking, but we’re really tired of listening to politicians talking about these issues. We can’t stand them any more,” was one man in Rome’s reaction.
Berlusconi already faces the resumption of three other trials for corruption and tax fraud in the next month after Italy’s top court stripped him of immunity he enjoyed thanks to a law passed by his own government.