Berlusconi heads back to court

Italian judges demand retrial of 2004 corruption case

ROME — Italy’s highest criminal court has ruled that Silvio Berlusconi will face a retrial in a corruption case, marking the ninth trial the former prime minister and Mediaset owner will stand on charges of either corruption or financial wrongdoing.

The case pertains to alleged bribery of judges in a legal battle with rival entrepreneur Carlo De Benedetti over control of food conglomerate SME.

Berlusconi, who maintains his innocence, was acquitted in this case in 2004 when he was prime minister.

During his mandate the Berlusconi government passed legislation that prevented prosecutors from appealing sentences. Last month the country’s Constitutional Court overturned those laws, paving the way for the prosecution to request, and obtain, that Berlusconi be tried again.

“We will read the judges’ motivations, which I believe are technically debatable,” one of Berlusconi’s lawyers, Gaetano Pecorella, said.

Berlusconi has so far stood trial eight times in Italy and been cleared either on appeal or because the statute of limitations had expired.

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