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Berlusconi will not attend trial due to Libya: lawyers

world Updated: Mar 21, 2011 16:54 IST
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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will not defend himself against bribery charges in court on Monday as had been expected because of an emergency cabinet meeting on Libya, his law office said.

"The prime minister will not be present at the hearing on Monday," Piersilvio Cipolotti from the office representing Berlusconi told AFP.

"The hearing will still take place" without him, Cipolotti said.

The government said Berlusconi would inform the cabinet on Monday of "developments in the crisis in Libya" following a summit in Paris on Saturday with the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League.

Cipolotti said Berlusconi could attend only if the cabinet meeting was "cancelled or delayed" at the last minute.

Berlusconi has not appeared for several years at any of the numerous court hearings against him but had vowed to defend himself against the accusations.

He stands accused of bribing his former British lawyer David Mills with $600,000 to provide false testimony in a separate trial.

Berlusconi has denied all the charges against him and has accused prosecutors of plotting against him.

The trial had been suspended due to an immunity law approved by Berlusconi, which was struck down by the Constitutional Court earlier this year.