berlusconiItaly’s Court of Cassation is expected to hand down the verdict in the Berlusconi trial today. On Wednesday the Court heard more than three hours of arguments from Berlusconi’s two lawyers challenging the verdict of a lower appeals court which sentenced him to jail and a ban from public office for the fraudulent purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset television empire.

Public prosecutor Antonello Mura has asked the five judges to confirm a prison sentence in the case. If the court confirms the sentence, there could be political turmoil. The weak coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) could be plunged into crisis if Berlusconi is excluded from participating in political duties.