Just because Italy's most consistently corrupt (and that's saying something) public official has resigned his office and is now on trial for, among other things, paying for sexual services from a girl under the age of 18, doesn't mean we can't enjoy some lurid "bunga bunga" news. After all, what would Saturday be without tales of Italian orgies where strippers dressed as nuns pole-danced for Berlusconi and his guests as part of a larger Eyes Wide Shut scenario at a garish Italian villa? It wouldn't be at all like Wednesday, that much is for sure.
Under Italian law, Berlusconi doesn't have to appear at his trial, but the former prime minister appeared anyway because, as a former cruise ship crooner, he's an inveterate showman. Once safely ensconced within the halls of justice, Berlusconi felt comfortable enough to rhapsodize on the chief difference between the sexes, saying the thing everyone really needs to understand about his bunga bungas is that "girls...women are by nature exhibitionist." Though he then confirmed that many of the young women who attended his genital get togethers had in fact dressed up in outrageous, costumes for the purposes of "burlesque games," he insisted that he didn't host any full-blown orgies, "only elegant dinners, and after dinner sometimes we went down to the theatre, my children's former discotheque, where there was an atmosphere of good cheer and affection."
Front and center at the trial is the nature of Berlusconi's relationship with Karima el-Mahroug, a Moroccan girl who attended several of the Berlusconi bunga bungas when she was 17. Berlusconi has been accused of paying the girl for sexual services when she was still a minor (strictly not cool in Italy), but he's denied the charge, insisting that he believed El-Mahroug was the granddaughter of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (though El-Mahroug has no firm connection to the Mubarak family, she has admitted that she had occasionally tried to pass herself off as Mubarak's granddaughter). In 2010, when El-Mahroug was detained in Milan for a suspected theft, Berlusconi contacted a senior police official, explaining that he believed the girl in custody was Mubarak's granddaughter and that parliamentarian Nicole Minetti would come to Milan and handle the situation.
Minetti's relationship to Berlusconi is also under the microscope and the genial former prime minister took full advantage of his day in court to explain why he'd paid so many large sums of money to women (including Minetti) scheduled to testify at his trial. The reason, he said, that he paid more than €127,000 to three women before the trial was "because they have had their lives ruined by this trial." That's just the kind of thoughtful guy Berlusconi is, always mindful of social obligations. He added that tragically, "Some of them have lost their boyfriends, and perhaps they'll never again find another." How will they ever get on without boyfriends?
Berlusconi is also charged with taking "illegal advantage" of his position, as opposed to the legal kind of advantage like offering helicopter rides at relatives' birthday parties and opening the Appian Way to drag races every other Sunday. He denies all wrongdoing, of course, citing his uncanny resemblance to the badger Friar Tuck in Disney's animated Robin Hood as proof of his honesty and innocence.