Italy's Berlusconi accuses judges of trying to topple him

A band of Italian prosecutors and judges are trying to overthrow the democratically elected government, PM Berlusconi claimed.

Italy's Berlusconi accuses judges of trying to topple him

A band of Italian prosecutors and judges are trying to overthrow the democratically elected government, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi claimed on Friday.

Speaking at an electoral rally in Turin, the 73 year-old media tycoon, who is on trial in two separate cases, said there was "a subversive aim" to bring down his less than two-year old government.

"If the prosecutors don't like a law then they challenge it and it gets rejected by the courts," Berlusconi said.

Italy's National Association of Magistrates (ANM) said Berlusconi's words marked "an intolerable escalation of insults and aggression".

Italy's top court on Thursday threw out a case against British lawyer David Mills, who had been convicted of taking a bribe from Berlusconi in 1999, ruling that the case had expired because the statute of limitations had kicked in.

The ANM said that verdict demonstrated that there was no politically motivated campaign by magistrates against the prime minister.

The court of Cassation's ruling could have a direct effect on a separate trial against Berlusconi in the Mills affair, which resumed late last year. The statute of limitations could now kick in a few months earlier in that trial.

"The Mills case is pure invention, it's absurd," Berlusconi said, adding that he wanted a full acquittal in the case rather than benefitting from the statute of limitations like Mills, which implies neither guilt nor innocence.

Berlusconi, who faces regional elections next month which are widely seen as a national test for his centre-right government, is also on trial for tax fraud relating to his business dealings before he entered politics.

Reuters

Last Mod: 26 Şubat 2010, 23:49
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