Milan

Judgement against Berlusconi in Ruby case set for February 4

Moroccan witness fined, ordered to testify on January 14

Judgement against Berlusconi in Ruby case set for February 4

Milan, December 17 - The final court hearing and judgement in a sex scandal involving Italian ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has been set for February 4, 2013, court officials said Monday. Judges also ordered the figure at the centre of the case, Karima 'Ruby' El Mahroug - who skipped her last court appearance one week ago - to appear in court on January 14, 2013 to testify. El Mahroug is the underage Moroccan runaway, nightclub dancer and alleged prostitute the ex-premier is accused of having sex with. Her absence from court as a defence witness last Monday delayed proceedings and caused confusion. The court slapped El Mahroug, who left for Mexico on December 1, with a 500-euro fine for missing her court appearance on December 10. Her lawyer told the court last week that the young woman was out of the country and didn't realize that she was expected at the trial, which has drawn international attention for many months. The prosecution in the case had asked the trial proceed on schedule, accusing Berlusconi's defense lawyers, Niccolo' Ghedini and Piero Longo, of orchestrating El Mahroug's absence for political purposes. Berlusconi recently began campaigning for a general election on February 17 or 24.

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