by de Gondi
Tue Feb 15th, 2011 at 10:06:22 AM EST
The judge for the preliminary investigation, Cristina Di Censo, has just ruled that Silvio Berlusconi is to go on trial immediately on charges of abuse of power for personal interests and prostitution with minors. The judge found that the evidence gathered, practically in flagrancy for the charge of concussion, warranted an immediate trial. The defense had argued that Milan was not the proper venue for the trial since Berlusconi had committed the alleged crime in the quality of Council President, thus warranting judgement by the Tribune of Ministers. Judge Di Censo accepted the Milan Procura's argument that the pressure that Berlusconi had sought to exert, successfully, on the police to release an underage prostitute, detained on suspicion of theft, was an abuse of the notoriety of his position as Council President to obtain an illegal advantage. In this sense Berlusconi had not committed an illegal act within his state functions which would have justified proceedings before the Tribune of Ministers.
The subsequent charge of frequenting underage prostitutes stems from this initial investigation. Contrary to press reports, neither Berlusconi nor his residences were ever put under surveillance. According to the so-called "Boato law" members of parliament and the government cannot be wiretapped or be object of search warrants without prior consent from parliament. A law that is greatly at odds with common sense.
The trial date is set for April 6th.
frontpaged with minor edit - Nomad
The trial will be presided by three judges chosen by a system of lots that awarded the trial to the Fourth Criminal Section of the Milan Tribune. Curiously, three women were chosen, the judges Carmen D'Elia, Orsola De Cristofaro and Giulia Turri. Perhaps a fitting rejoinder to the massive response to grassroots women organizations this last Sunday.
On the political scene one might expect a clamorous defection from the Lega Nord which would spell the end of Berlusconi's political career. The Lega Nord, for all its professed solidarity, may soon realize that their program has no future with Berlusconi. Further the Lega Nord's constituency has taken to strongly criticizing the alliance with Berlusconi.
In the eventuality that Berlusconi were to be condemned he would lose his civic rights, above all his right to stand for office.
This is but one of the four trials awaiting Berlusconi in the months to come.