Berlusconi sex, Mediaset trials move to Brescia asked

Defence files bias claim

Berlusconi sex, Mediaset trials move to Brescia asked

Milan, March 15 - Silvio Berlusconi's defence lawyers on Friday asked for the ex-premier's two Milan trials to be moved to the nearby city of Brescia on the grounds of alleged bias by magistrates he says are persecuting him. When a claim of so-called 'legitimate suspicion' of bias is upheld, a trial is moved to the nearest major city. Berlusconi is on trial for alleged sex with an underage prostitute called Ruby and appealing a four-year conviction for tax fraud on film rights involving his Mediaset media group. The three-time premier's People of Freedom (PdL) party staged a controversial demonstration inside the Milan courthouse on Monday and are planning another one to support claims the alleged campaign of persecution has been stepped up after Italy's recent general election. The demo came after prosecutors asked for checks that an eye problem which sent the ex-premier to hospital was valid proof of his inability to attend hearings. A poll Friday said a third of Italians agree with the media tycoon's claim that allegedly left-wing magistrates have been trying to hound him out of politics since he became premier in 1994.

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