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Berlusconi Can Be Prosecuted, Court Rules
By FRANK BRUNI

Published: January 14, 2004


OME, Jan. 13 — Dealing a potentially severe blow to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's highest court on Tuesday overturned a recently enacted law that had shielded him from criminal prosecution while in office.

The Constitutional Court's decision allows the resumption of a bribery trial against Mr. Berlusconi that was halted when the law took effect last June and represents more bad news during an especially difficult period for Italy's often embattled leader.

It was the second time in a month that watchdog officials in the Italian government essentially slapped his hand for overreaching, lending force to critics' complaints that he has tried to amass too much power.

In mid-December, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who usually performs a ceremonial role, took the unusual step of declining to sign into law a bill regarding media ownership that Mr. Berlusconi's allies had fashioned and supported.

That bill would have given Mr. Berlusconi, already a media magnate, an opportunity to expand his media empire.

"Berlusconi is appearing weaker and weaker," Sebastiano Maffettone, a political science professor at Luiss University in Rome, said after the court ruling. Neither Mr. Maffettone nor other political analysts predicted that Mr. Berlusconi's center-right government was in danger of tumbling, as Italian governments so frequently do.

Mr. Berlusconi also does not seem to be in imminent legal danger. Legal experts said that a verdict in his bribery trial was still at least many months away and that he might find new ways to delay it even further.

The trial centers on charges, which the prime minister denies, that he bribed judges in the mid-1980's to influence the sale of a government-owned food conglomerate.

But the ruling on Tuesday elated and emboldened the prime minister's opponents on the center-left, who are sensing and poking at new chinks in his armor.

The immunity law protected the top five officials in the government, including the prime minister.

Mr. Berlusconi and his allies noted at the time that the law resembled measures on the books in some other European countries and recreated in Italy a protection that Italian politicians had enjoyed in the past.

They also said the law was necessary in light of what they characterized as a politically motivated crusade against Mr. Berlusconi by Italian prosecutors and judges.

The law abruptly stopped a trial in Milan that was nearing its conclusion and which compelled Mr. Berlusconi to make several appearances in court late last spring. As he rebutted the bribery charges, he became the first sitting Italian prime minister to testify as a criminal defendant.

In striking down the immunity measure on Tuesday, Italy's highest court said in a written statement that it violated a principle in Italy's Constitution that all Italian citizens should be equal before the law.

Mr. Berlusconi made no immediate public comment. One of his defense lawyers, Niccolò Ghedini, who is also a member of Parliament and of Mr. Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, said the ruling was not a setback.

"It happens that constitutional courts strike down laws," Mr. Ghedini said. "I don't think it is at all embarrassing for Berlusconi."

But Professor Maffettone and other political experts said Mr. Berlusconi must now deal with a fresh set of concerns as he tries to recover from a string of other problems and embarrassments.

Those setbacks include deepening frictions within his governing coalition, the recent collapse of the Italian dairy giant Parmalat, wildcat strikes by transportation workers and heated debates over proposed pension revisions.

"Italy has big problems," said Francesco Rutelli, a leading center-left member of Parliament. "It's time that its leader deals with Italy's future and abandons once and for all the effort to bend its institutions to his own comfort and interests."
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NY Times


so what does this mean....will he be impeached(if u have that) if found guilty or what?

basically i wanna know what this means
 

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jack goff said:
If there is a god, Berlu and Tanzi will be cell mates soon :howler:
What's the Italian prison system like? What are the chances of squeezing Fausto Tonna in there?
 

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If there is justice, Tanzi will be locked up and Berlusca will finally be left alone doing his job and the left Bsers will finally shut the **** up and understand that bitching wont help them win the next elezioni!

I tell you whats going on.
Berlusca is rich and a great prez and got a great plan.
The left, Rutelli, Fassino, and the whole gang, got NO plan, and they can only turn down everything Berlusca does.
Simple as that.
 

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ItalianBoy said:
Berlusca is rich and a great prez and got a great plan.
Could you elaborate on this "great plan"? Leave the obvious part (more power to me, more money to me and all that) aside.

By the way; he is not a "prez", he is a Prime Minister. Ciampi is the "prez".
 

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He is a Prime Minister in the English language but in Italian he is the Presidente del Consiglio and Ciampi is the President della Repubblica.
Berlusca has a great plan to make the economy better. You know what the Articolo 18 is? Well in few words, the modification Berlusca wanted to do was to have a more flexible market, not fire people for the hell of it, he is doing great pension wise, etc. He builded great relations with all countries, except that loser of Shulze.
 

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Finally!

That clown.:tongue:
 

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ItalianBoy said:
He is a Prime Minister in the English language but in Italian he is the Presidente del Consiglio and Ciampi is the President della Repubblica.
But "prez" surely derives from english, no? Let it go my man. ;)

Berlusca has a great plan to make the economy better. You know what the Articolo 18 is?
No. What is articolo 18?

Well in few words, the modification Berlusca wanted to do was to have a more flexible market, not fire people for the hell of it,
Riiight. Where on earth did you get that "not fire people for the hell of it"? His legistlation was EXACTLY the opposite. Or else why did the sindicates kicked up such a fuss about it?

He builded great relations with all countries, except that loser of Shulze.
I'm not sure what Shulze is. Help?

But builded great relations with all countries... you're insane man. He had the most useless EU presidency, fvcked up his relations with about every country in the EU with a sack of stupid comments and supported a war that put Italy second to the top of the list of every terrorist. And let's not even go in the various comments he has made about Muslims...

If you consider Berlusca a succesful politician as far as foreign relations are concerned... You're going bananas.
 

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Its clear that you are left wing and its also clear you do not have any info on Italian Politics.
The sindicats are all left party and are all allied with la sinistra. That is why they too can not stand Berlusca.
The Articolo 18 talks about work. See, before the change, you could have not fired anyone, no matter what, now, the market is more flexible, hopefully.

The "firing for the hell of it" is what the left stated what the change would have been, when its not true.

I wont comment on the rest as its clear that you got your mind brainwashed by your left views.

Soon enough you will be calling me a fascist and saying that Berlusca is a dictator.
:rolleyes:
 

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Did I misspelled his last name?
Schulze is one of Germany representators in the EU parliment.
He was the guy that under the influnce of D'Alema and Rutelli attacked Berlusca out of the blue, Berlusca replied but all the newspapers of left wing changed his words around.
 

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ItalianBoy said:
you got your mind brainwashed by your left views.
Isn't there any strange in that? :rolleyes:

ItalianBoy said:
Soon enough you will be calling me a fascist and saying that Berlusca is a dictator.
Soon enough you'll be calling people that they are "left wing" or that they "clearly do not have any info on Italian Politics" when they disagree with you.
 

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ItalianBoy said:
Sei pure comunista!?
Bell'avatar, pero', ste cose sadomaso nun me tirano molto.
"Promotional Whore or Poster Whore or Just a Whore?"
:confused:
I'm not into politics nor do I have a view that is communist nor facist...so I'm on the fence...as I don't take sides.

Marquis de Sade is my favourite writer...

Promotional Whore is a nickname given to me...poster whore...because well my post count and the time I been here speaks for itself...:(. Just a whore...Don't know why I have it there sounded ok so I put it...
 

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GaGa said:
I'm not into politics nor do I have a view that is communist nor facist...so I'm on the fence...as I don't take sides.

Marquis de Sade is my favourite writer...

Promotional Whore is a nickname given to me...poster whore...because well my post count and the time I been here speaks for itself...:(. Just a whore...Don't know why I have it there sounded ok so I put it...
Hehe..:D
 

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ItalianBoy said:
If there is justice, Tanzi will be locked up and Berlusca will finally be left alone doing his job and the left Bsers will finally shut the **** up and understand that bitching wont help them win the next elezioni!

I tell you whats going on.
Berlusca is rich and a great prez and got a great plan.
The left, Rutelli, Fassino, and the whole gang, got NO plan, and they can only turn down everything Berlusca does.
Simple as that.
You dont seem to mind that he might be corrupt, is that right? You dont seem to mind that he has wormed his way out of standing trial either. If he has nothing to hide he should stand trial and get it over and done with. Most people would want to clear their names yet he doesnt seem to care, all he wants to do is hang on to power for as long as possible or maybe while he still can. Might be hard from jail. ;)

jack, no need for that comment, grow up.
 
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