MILAN - A Milan court on Monday rejected a defense request to move a sex trial against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to a special tribunal for ministers in Rome.
Berlusconi's lawyers say the Milan judges are biased against him. His critics say he is trying to escape ordinary justice and would get a more favorable hearing in the tribunal. The final decision is due to be made by Italy's constitutional court.
Moving the case would force prosecutors to start again from scratch, voiding a large part of their work on the case so far.
Berlusconi, 74, denies charges that he paid for sex with Moroccan teenager Karima El Mahroug, a nightclub dancer known by her stage name Ruby. He went on trial in April on charges he gave her cash and jewels in exchange for sex when she was 17. He is also accused of abusing his powers to cover up the affair.
The media magnate admits a fondness for young women but denies having sex with Ruby and dismisses accusations of wild sex parties at his residence.