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Silvio Berlusconi sex trial plea rejected

  • An Italian court rejected the request of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday to halt a trial in which he is accused of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute.

    The Milan court also decided it did not require testimony from the woman, dancer Karima El Mahroug.

    Berlusconi's lawyers made the request for the trial to be halted so he could focus on his election campaign.

    Both Berlusconi and Mahroug, who is better known by her stage name "Ruby Heartstealer”, have denied having sex.

    Berlusconi stepped down from a third term as PM in November 2011.

    His People of Freedom (PDL) party aims to form a center-right coalition government with another party. They have not yet named a candidate for prime minister.

    Berlusconi has not explicitly ruled himself out of running for the post, saying the candidate "will be decided if we win".