Mercoledì, 19 Settembre 2018

PdL meeting this week over Berlusconi legal tangles


(see related)
ß Rome, July 9 - Politicians who belong to ex-premier
Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party were planning
to meet Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the latest twist in
their leader's legal tangles.
Members of the Lower House were scheduled to meet later
Tuesday while Senators were planning to meet late Wednesday with
Berlusconi attending both sessions.
The meetings were announced shortly after Italy's Court of
Cassation set July 30 as the starting date for the final appeals
trial regarding Berlusconi's conviction on tax-dodging through
the manipulation of film rights for Mediaset, a broadcasting
company that is part of his family's media empire.
The fact the appeal will be held so soon outraged
Berlusconi's lawyers and members of the PdL, who complain that
the judiciary is persecuting Berlusconi.
"I have never seen a hearing scheduled with this speed. I
am shocked, surprised and saddened, because in this way defence
rights are compromised," said Berlusconi's lawyer, Franco
Coppi, commenting on the Cassation Court trial scheduling.
Last month the Constitutional Court - Italy's middle court
- upheld a lower court ruling sentencing Berlusconi to four
years in prison and banning him from public office for five
The sentence will not be enforced unless upheld by the
Supreme Court of Cassation.
The overall court case has serious political implications.
There are fears that if the Cassation Court upholds
Berlusconi's sentence, members of the center-right leader's
PdL party could act to upset the fragile left-right coalition
government, headed by Premier Enrico Letta of the center-left
Democratic Party (PD).
Senior PdL officials have said the party's lawmakers will
quit en masse if the fraud conviction is upheld.

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