After deliberating over the evidence gathered by Milan prosecutors in connection with allegations that Berlusconi had slept with a prostitute who was a minor and abused his authority to have Ruby – the girl at the centre of the Rubygate scandal – released from police custody, a magistrate in Milan stated Berlusconi should be sent for immediate trial.
The trial date has been set for April 6th, 2011, and the Berlusconi case will be heard by three female judges. Upon becoming aware of the formalisation of charges against him, Berlusconi reportedly abandoned a press conference and rushed to Rome.
Berlusconi has yet to react to the decision of his arch enemies – Italy’s magistrates and judiciary in general – but any reaction is unlikely to be timid.
Lawyers representing Berlusconi said that the decision was what was expected, but must be worried that the magistrate did not feel the case should be heard by a special court in Rome which deals with misbehaving holders of public office.
A very good question.
Upon facing such charges, a normal person may well end up in handcuffs and be taken into police custody, but, as Berlusconi loves to argue, he is not ‘normal’, even if, in the eyes of Italian law, he is. I doubt Italy’s television and press will be graced with images of Silvio Berlusconi being led away by police.
The Vatican might, finally, start openly criticising Berlusconi.
Italy’s President Napolitano may formally, or quietly, request Berlusconi to resign – for the good of Italy.
International pressure might be brought to bear on Italy to force Berlusconi to go – after all, having the Prime Minister of a major nation face such charges – Prostitution of Minors and Corruption, does not look wonderful. Some world leaders might not want to be associated with Silvio Berlusconi.
The European Union might worry about the security implications of having a man charged with corruption and prostitution at the head of a major state – after all, Berlusconi appears to have left himself wide open to blackmail. This is not good for the head of a country.
Berlusconi will probably try to attack Italy’s judiciary will all the means available to him – and words like ‘commie’, ‘subversive’, ‘insult’,and ‘coup’ will be used extensively. Of this, one has little doubt.
Italy’s opposition parties will continue baying for Berlusconi’s resignation.
Berlusconi might ‘do a Craxi’, jump on one of his private jets and flee to Antigua, or wherever.
We must remember that Berlusconi is innocent until proven guilty. Even so…
Image: Presidenza della Repubblica (Presidency of Italian Republic)