Berlusconi team seeks venue change


ROME -- Defense attorneys for media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday filed a motion to have the former prime minister's graft and corruption trial moved to the Umbrian city of Perugia, opening the possibility of yet another delay in the five-month-old trial.

Attorney Niccolo Ghedini filed the motion based on the grounds that the Rome court hearing the case was predisposed against Berlusconi, who has appeared in the same court on at least three occasions.

It is unclear whether the trial -- which already has been delayed four times -- will have to be halted to consider the motion or how long a move to Perugia would delay the proceedings.

Prosecutors have charged that Berlusconi's legal team is seeking to delay the process until the statute of limitations on most of the charges expires, which will happen beginning in November. In the past, Berlusconi has avoided prosecution on multiple legal charges, many times thanks to expiring statutes of limitations.

The trial originally opened in October, but lawyers have appeared in court only five days.

Berlusconi has denied all wrongdoing in the case, which charges that he paid British lawyer David Mills $800,000 to lie for him in court.