Italy bars TV cameras from Berlusconi’s ‘Ruby’ trial

April 1st, 2011 - 2:13 am ICT by IANS  

Milan, April 1 (IANS/AKI) Television crews will be barred from the courtroom where Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is due to be tried for paying for sex with an underage erotic dancer nicknamed ‘Ruby’, according to a Thursday ruling.

Italy’s attorney general Laura Bertole Viale and state prosecutor Manlio Minale signed the ordinance. It reversed an earlier ruling saying that only Italy’s public broadcaster RAI could film the trial, which begins April 6 at a court in the northern Italian city of Milan.

A panel of three women judges will preside over the trial, the court said. The list of defence witnesses include US film star George Clooney and his Italian girlfriend, Elizabetta Canalis, a showgirl.

Prosecutors allege Berlusconi paid for sex with teenage Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, whose stagename is Ruby the Heartstealer, on several occasions when she was 17 years old.

He also abused his office by pressuring police in Milan to release her on unrelated theft charges in order to cover up their relationship, according to prosecutors.

Berlusconi and El Mahroug deny they had sex.

Berlusconi, who is already facing three trials, denies all wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a conspiracy of leftfwing magistrates.

–IANS/AKI
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