MILAN (Reuters) - A Milan court on Friday rejected a new request from Silvio Berlusconi's lawyers to suspend a tax fraud trial involving the purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset media group until after the February 24-25 election.
The decision prompted a defiant response from the former prime minister and his center-right party, who described as "scandalous" what they see as an interference with the parliamentary race.
"It hurts my heart to see how much money is spent on laughable issues," Berlusconi said at a news conference in Rome referring to the court's work, brandishing a timetable of court hearings he said were designed to stop him campaigning.
The 76-year-old media tycoon, who has served four times as prime minister, is appealing against a previous court ruling in the case which in October sentenced him to four years in jail.
Berlusconi, who has surged in opinion polls but lags the center-left Democratic Party, is also facing a trial on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and a third for alleged leaking of a confidential phone call to the media.
No verdicts are expected soon, but prosecutors may seek a sentence in these trials days before the vote.
Berlusconi has made an astonishing comeback over the last month through a blitz of radio and television appearances.
He is leading a center-right coalition polling 27.8 percent against a center-left coalition on 32.8 percent.
The tax fraud trial will continue on February 8.
(Reporting by Manuela D'Alessandro; Editing by Stephen Powell)
Ridiculously Hilarious: MSNBC's Mitchell Gets Bad Case of the Vapors Over Cruz Ad Mocking Hillary | RedState
ICYMI: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog ends campus political correctness as we know it
Hey, The Supreme Court Might Decide On ‘Assault Weapons’ After All
Benghazi for Dummies - News Headlines: U.S, National, World, Conservative, Political, Politics, Election, Latest, Breaking
New Jersey Man Slays Child | Human Events
Hickok45 Has Huge Hands! Or Maybe Something Else Is Going On...
Watch This Fast Food Worker Explain Why She Deserves to Be Paid More Than Paramedics