More legal woes for Berlusconi as prosecutors demand bribery trial

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More legal woes for Berlusconi as prosecutors demand bribery trial

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Silvio Berlusconi’s legal woes show no sign of subsiding, a day after his conviction for tax fraud was upheld.

Prosecutors in Naples have called for Italy’s ex-prime minister to face another trial on charges of bribing a former senator.

They accuse him of having paid Sergio De Gregorio three million euros to defect from his small party in 2006 and join the centre-right. A judge must decide first whether there is a case to answer.

Leaders of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party – a key partner in the coalition government – have been meeting to consider their next moves. They have repeated accusations that judges are politically motivated.

“It’s a politicised judiciary, which practises politics, which wants to destroy politics of a certain orientation, so to speak. That’s blindingly obvious,” said Renato Brunetta from the PdL.

Berlusconi’s legal team had tried unsuccessfully to get the case moved from Milan, where an appeal court upheld a four-year jail term and five-year ban from public office for helping his media company avoid paying tax. The sentence will not take effect before Italy’s highest appeal court has its say.

Meanwhile his supporters are planning a protest rally in the northern city of Brescia on May 11.

Berlusconi’s separate case on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute is due to resume next week.