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Has Berlusconi gone too far this time? PDF Print E-mail
Jun 21, 2014 at 11:07 PM

Image
Berlusconi at the Naples courthouse last week.
Has he finally opened his big fat trap once too often? We will see on Monday when Naples prosecutors will decide whether to take action against Silvio Berlusconi for insulting the judiciary during a session of a corruption trial there last week. Berlusconi said the magistrates, who are sitting on a vote-buying trial in which Berluscni is one of the major defendants as "uncontrolled, uncontrollable and irresponsible" and claiming they have "full immunity" and can do whatever they please.

The political leader and media magnate has been insulting the Italian judiciary for years now; his claims that he is a victim of what he terms a communist-leaning judiciary have been repeated so often that everyone stopped counting long ago.

However, this time he may (I hope) have put his foot in it. Berlusconi is currently doing four hours of community service once a week (in a home for Alzheimer's patients) in lieu of house detention for the one-year sentence he received when he was convicted of tax fraud last August 1. This ridiculously mild sentence (set by communist-leaning magistrates?) is totally absurd as it allowed the three-time prime minister to conduct a full election campaign for the May European for his Forza Italia party which by the way only polled 16% of the vote compared to 25% in the February 2013 national elections. But the lenient sentence was contingent on his curbing his tongue when he speaks of the judiciary. And yet, there he went again.

Although he could also be charged with defamation, I'm betting, however, that the magistrates in Naples will give him another pass. It is absolutely astounding how tolerant even Berlusconi's opponents are of him. Last week, two (not one, but two) morning political talk shows featured an extra window in their broadcasts televising a press conference that Berlusconi was, astoundingly, allowed to hold inside the lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. Wouldn't you think that a convicted felon who has already been kicked out of the Italian Senate and barred from running from office would be denied the right to give a press conference inside one Italy's major institutions? But this, dear readers, is Italy where - let's be frank - anything, and everything, goes.

Eventually,however, he should (should!) get his comeuppance. In the Naples hearing, he is charged with paying several senators a great amount of money to change their vote on a key issue. While in Milan, the tribunal there is gearing up for the appeals trial on charges that he facilitated the prostitution of a minor and abused the power of his office by strngarming a court official into releasing the same prostitute from custody.

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