MILAN - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's trial on charges he paid for sex with an underage prostitute should be put on hold for months until Italy's top court decides which judges have jurisdiction, his lawyers said on Monday.
In a legal submission, Berlusconi's lawyers said a Milan court has no jurisdiction in the case and that Berlusconi should be tried by a special tribunal for ministers. Italy's top court is due to rule on the matter in early February.
A suspension would buy Berlusconi's defense time and avoid more negative headlines for the weakened premier, who faces a string of scandals and is fighting to stave off a market crisis threatening to send Italy's debt sliding out of control.
Berlusconi is also accused of telephoning Milan police officers last May to have the prostitute, Moroccan-born teenager Karima El Mahroug, released from custody when she was detained over theft allegations, in order to avoid a scandal.