The request is harsh: five years’ imprisonment for Silvio Berlusconi and four years and four months for Valter Lavitola. The prosecution relates to an alleged corruption of senators. The story dates back to a few years ago, when in 2007 the Prime Minister Romano Prodi was elected with a rather narrow majority in the Senate. According to the charges, the former premier managed to bring down the government of the Democratic Party by buying the votes of some senators, for instance of Sergio De Gregorio, who was elected in the IDV and then passed to the Center-Right. So, after five hours of public prosecutor’s charge, the prosecutor Vincenzo Piscitelli (in the courtroom with his colleagues Alessandro Milita, Henry John Woodcock and Fabrizio Vanorio), called for the maximum sentence.

The charge is based precisely on the statements of De Gregorio, who has bargained a year and eight months. On the defence counsel’s seats, besides the lawyers who are assisting Berlusconi in the trial, Niccolo Ghedini and Michele Cerabona, also sits the other historic defender of the former Prime Minister, Franco Coppi.

In the investigation, prosecutors have reconstructed the particular climate of those years, in which there was a continuous uncertainty of the Senate and every decision seemed precarious. According to the accusatory hypothesis, Berlusconi had decided to invest millions of Euros in buying the votes of the senators of the Center-Left parties. Some accepted, as De Gregorio, who claimed he was in serious economic difficulties, others, of the utmost integrity, refused, as Giuseppe Caforio. The mediator is the other strongly accused – Lavitola.

“The aim of Berlusconi – Piscitelli said – was to drop Prodi’s government, how to do that was not important. The Mastella’s resignation seems to have been a heavy blow”. For this reason the investigation into Santa Maria Capua Vetere was revealed, an incident in which his wife and his father-in-law were involved. The prosecutor then concluded by saying that this “is not just a corruption incident; it is an episode of extreme seriousness”, and he is sure that other senators accepted, even if he was not able yet to identify them. “It was an operation aimed at subverting the democratic order. A dark page of Italian politics”.

Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo

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