Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has failed in his attempt to put his sex trial on hold until after the general election.
Three Milan judges dismissed his lawyers’ argument that the media magnate would not have time to attend the trial due to the vote, which is set for February 24 and 25.
Berlusconi, who’s 76, denies all charges in this latest court case which include paying for sex with a minor.
The nightclub dancer at the centre of the scandal made a brief appearance in court.
20-year-old Morroccan Karima El Mahroug – who’s stage name is “Ruby the Heartstealer” – was under 18 when the alleged affair took place.
Berlusconi, pictured here with his new 27-year-old girlfriend, is leading his centre-right party into the election.
He’s still not confirmed whether he will run for prime minister while facing a possible 15 year prison sentence.
Polls show his party is still trailing far behind the centre-left alliance, which is expected to win.
Berlusconi stepped down as prime minister in 2011 amid several legal cases and as the Italian economy faced bankruptcy. He was replaced by technocrat Mario Monti.