Berlusconi defence to call Ruby as witness

Prosecution won't ask Moroccan dancer to testify in sex trial

Berlusconi defence to call Ruby as witness

(ANSA) - Milan, July 13 - Moroccan dancer Karima 'Ruby' El Mahroug will give evidence for the defence in the trial of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, defence lawyers have said. The ex-PM and media magnate stands accused of paying for sex with Ruby when she was underage and trying to cover it up by abusing his office. "Right now we are not relinquishing any witnesses and so we will list our witnesses for future hearings," said lawyers Niccolo' Ghedini and Piero Longo, who are acting on behalf of Berlusconi. The announcement came after the prosecution said it would not be calling around 40 witnesses, including Ruby. The defence also said it would tell the court whether Berlusconi would attend the next hearing, scheduled for October 5. On Friday the court finished hearing the witnesses for the prosecution, around 90 in total. Prosecutors claim Berlusconi had sex with 33 prostitutes at his villa over the course of several evenings, including the then underage Ruby. Berlusconi has stressed that both he and Ruby deny the charges and claims to be the victim of biased prosecutors. The charge of having sex with an underage prostitute carries a jail term of up to three years, and abuse of office 12 years. The Ruby trial opened last April and could run for years.

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