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Silvio Berlusconi fails in fresh attempt to block 'Ruby' trial

Former PM requested trial, in which he is accused of having sex with an under-age prostitute, be halted during elections

Judges have blocked the latest attempt by Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyers to prevent a conviction on sex and corruption charges ahead of next month’s general election.

The former Prime Minister, who hopes to lead the centre-right in the poll, is accused of paying for sex with Karima “Ruby” El Mahroug, left, in 2010 when she was under age.

Today, shortly after Ms El Mahroug had fought her way through the media scrum to enter the court in Milan, Mr Berlusconi’s lawyers asked for the trial to be delayed again, this time to allow Mr Berlusconi to fight the general election and to avoid media interest in proceedings. Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini had noted “a trial cannot be suspended for a general election campaign”.

Then, despite all the travails in getting her to appear, Mr Berlusconi’s lawyers announced that Ms El Mahroug would not be required to testify, adding to the impression the defence was doing everything possible to delay the trial.