Berlusconi to make statement at sex trial: lawyer
ROME - Agence France-Press
Hürriyet photoItaly's ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi will make a statement at his trial for having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing the powers of his office, a lawyer for his defence told AFP on Thursday.
The former prime minister's statement however is not expected until after Christmas at the earliest once the many witnesses called by the defence have been heard by the court, the lawyer said on condition of anonymity.
"This is not the right time," said the lawyer, dismissing reports in Italian media that Berlusconi would make his statement at a hearing on October 19.
Berlusconi's defence lawyers have proposed a list of 70 witnesses including Hollywood actor George Clooney and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
But the number of witnesses can be reduced by the judge, the lawyer said.
Defendants in Italy are allowed to make a "spontaneous declaration" to the court at any time during their trial without facing cross-examination.
The lawyer said there could be "a dozen hearings" before Berlusconi speaks and that the trial, which began in April 2011, would last "quite a while".
Berlusconi is accused of having sex with Moroccan-born exotic dancer Karima El-Mahroug, better known as "Ruby the Heart Stealer", when she was 17.
He is also charged with abusing his position as prime minister by pressuring police to release her when she was arrested for petty theft in May 2010.
The charge of exploiting an underage prostitute in Italy carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and abuse of power up to 12 years.
Berlusconi resigned on November 11 last year following a series of sex scandals, a parliamentary revolt and a wave of panic on the financial markets.