Jan. 14 - Exotic dancer Ruby 'the Heartstealer' arrives in court to testify in Berlusconi sex trial case. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: The young nightclub dancer at the center of Silvio Berlusconi's sex trial arrived in court to testify on Monday but the former Italian premier's lawyer asked for the case to be suspended until after elections next month.
Karima El Mahroug, 20, and better known by her stage name "Ruby the Heartstealer", fought her way through a jostling scrum of photographers as she arrived at the court in central Milan where Berlusconi is on trial on charges of paying for sex with a minor.
El Mahroug, who wore a black jacket, black boots and a gray scarf for the court appearance, has stayed out of sight since having a baby girl a year ago with her nightclub owner boyfriend. She kissed him as she arrived inside the courtroom.
El Mahroug had been due to testify in December but failed to show up, telling her lawyer she was on holiday in Mexico. The prosecution alleged this was a ploy intended to delay verdict in the sensational trial.
The 76-year-old Berlusconi, who is seeking a fifth term in government at general elections in February, is accused of paying El Mahroug for sex when she was under 18, which is the minimum legal age for prostitution in Italy.
The billionaire media mogul denies all charges and El Mahroug, a Moroccan who is now 20, has said she never had sex with him.
In December a Milan judge set Feb. 4 as the date for the final hearing in the sex trial, making a verdict possible before the elections scheduled for Feb. 24-25.
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