Berlusconi to face new 'bunga bunga' trial
Rome - Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi should face a new trial in Rome over allegations that he bribed witnesses to avoid prosecution in the so-called "bunga bunga" affair, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
Starting from November 23, Berlusconi will be tried alongside Mariano Apicella, a cabaret singer the politician hired for his night-time parties with young women, and who allegedly received from him illegal payments of more than 150 000 euros (175 000 dollars).
Berlusconi, 81, was cleared in 2015 of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old prostitute and abusing his position to cover up the affair. But payments he made to those who testified for the defence, including Apicella, are now under judicial scrutiny.
Similar trials, involving the alleged bribing of other defence witnesses, are ongoing in Milan and Siena, and on Wednesday prosecutors called for Berlusconi to face yet another court case, for the same reasons, in Turin.
In addition, a court decision is looming on whether Berlusconi should stand trial in Bari on charges of bribing a man who recruited prostitutes on his behalf, and he is under investigation in Florence for possible collusion with the Sicilian Mafia.
Despite his legal travails, Berlusconi saw a five-year ban on running for public office lifted last week, one year ahead of schedule, because judges in Milan certified his good conduct since finishing a community service sentence for tax fraud three years ago.
On Wednesday, prosecutors found the decision on revocation of the public office ban to be formally correct and said they would not appeal it.