Silvio Berlusconi Skips His Own Trial Once Again

Mar 21, 2011, 13:07 by David Hope

Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister was absent as his bribery trial resumed in Milan Monday, citing the Libyan crisis as his excuse for not being present.

Berlusconi's lawyers had said he would show up to defend himself but read a letter saying he had an urgent Cabinet meeting on Libya, ANSA reported.

The billionaire premier is accused of paying British tax lawyer David Mills $600,000 to influence his testimony on tax matters.

About 20 Berlusconi supporters had gathered outside court in anticipation of his appearance.

On March 11, Berlusconi vowed to devote Mondays to all four of his trials, on different matters, to "explain things to the Italian people".

The judge in the Mills case has scheduled further hearings for Mondays at the defense's request.

Berlusconi's lead lawyer, Niccolo' Ghedini, said the prime minister wanted to be vindicated in court rather than benefit from the statute of limitations.

Mills has been convicted of perjury, but his prison term was called off because 10 years had passed since the alleged crime.

Source: UPI