Tens of thousands gathered in Rome on Saturday to protest Prime Minister Berlusconi’s alleged corruption while a case against him and his tax lawyer has adjourned. “Berlusconi, who did not attend Saturday’s hearing, is on trial for allegedly paying $600,000 to David Mills, a British tax lawyer, in exchange for false testimony during two trials in the mid-1990s.
Mills’ parallel trial for the same crime was thrown out by Italy’s appeals court on Thursday because the statute of limitations had expired, even though judges decided the crime had taken place. Italian law sets a 10-year limit for prosecution of judiciary corruption crimes and terms for Berlusconi’s trial are set to expire in early 2011. Berlusconi’s lawyers asked the court to suspend the trial until details on the Mills ruling were published, but judges refused because ‘the trial cannot be suspended for an undetermined amount of time’. The prime minister launched a fresh attack on the country’s judges on Friday, likening them to Afghanistan’s Taliban and accusing them of using the judiciary for political purposes.”