Berlusconi to make 'declaration' at Mediaset trial

Ex-premier asks for hearings to be postponed until March 1

Berlusconi to make 'declaration' at Mediaset trial

Milan, February 8 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi will make a 'spontaneous declaration' in his appeal trial regarding a one-year sentence for tax fraud on film rights for his Mediaset TV group in a court hearing requested for March 1, his lawyers have said. The media mogul and leader of the centre-right coalition was due to appear before judges on Friday. However on Thursday he asked for the hearing to be postponed until next month for reasons of legitimate impediment due to campaign commitments in the run-up to parliamentary elections on February 24 and 25. His two defense lawyers also failed to show up at the Friday hearing allegedly due to campaign commitments in their bid for election with the ex-premier's People of Freedom party (PdL). The judges have yet to rule on on the postponement request. Berlusconi is conducting a media blitz and increasing public appearances ahead of the polls as his centre-right formation narrows the gap on the centre-left grouping led by the Democratic Party (Pd), currently in the lead.

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