In the latest episode of his long-running trial over charges of child prostitution, Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of Italy, failed to reschedule the court proceedings to a date beyond Italy's general election in late February. Berlusconi is facing up to 15 years in prison for soliciting and having sex with a then-17-year-old Moroccan dancer named Ruby Rubacuori ("Ruby Heartstealer" in Italian) who supposedly worked at one of Berlusconi's enormous, libidinous "bunga bunga" parties

The charges, though severe, haven't really put a damper on Berlusconi's public life: as the trial has progressed over the past two years (Bersculoni was first charged in February 2011) the politician has remained a political fixture, recently campaigning on behalf of his right-leaning political party, The People of Freedom. Hence his legal's team statement to an Italian court today:

Niccolò Ghedini, one of Berlusconi's legal team, told the court the former prime minister would be too busy campaigning to follow the case or attend hearings. He also wanted to avoid the trial being "exploited" during the campaign, he said.