Berlusconi sex-for-hire trial reaches final stage on Monday
MILAN (AP) - Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's sex-for-hire trial entered the final stretch on Monday with a Milan prosecutor making long-delayed closing arguments.
Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an underage Moroccan prostitute at a lavish party he hosted while he was premier and then trying to cover it up. The sensational trial reopened just days after Berlusconi's four-year sentence for tax fraud was confirmed by an appeals court, a damaging verdict that nonetheless cannot be enforced until all appeals are exhausted.
The prostitution trial had been delayed by more than two months for elections, an eye ailment for which Berlusconi was hospitalised and a change of venue request that was denied.
Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told the court that the young women invited to the former premier's parties ''were part of a system of prostitution organised for the pleasure of Silvio Berlusconi." She said there was ''no doubt" that it was known to the organisers of the parties that the young Moroccan woman, Karima el-Mahroug, known by the nickname ''Ruby Heart Stealer," was underage when they included her on the guest list.