Can Italy's Bad Boy Prime Minister Berlusconi Survive Another Scandal? Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is famous for surviving scandals that have dogged his rule. But he's looking more vulnerable. Prosecutors want to question him on allegations that he paid to have sex with a minor -- a Moroccan nightclub dancer who goes by the stage name Ruby Heartthrob.
NPR logo

Can Italy's Bad Boy Premier Survive Latest Scandal?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133043127/133043118" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Can Italy's Bad Boy Premier Survive Latest Scandal?

Can Italy's Bad Boy Premier Survive Latest Scandal?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133043127/133043118" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Here's NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Prosecutors also suspect Berlusconi abused his powers to spring her from police custody when she was detained for theft. Berlusconi has branded the probe a subversive plot aimed at toppling him from power. In a televised address Sunday, he appeared extremely tense.

SILVIO BERLUSCONI: (Through translator) The charges against me are totally unfounded, actually laughable. The police officer denies I put pressure on him, and the minor denies she had sex with me and asserts she presented herself as a 24-year-old.

POGGIOLI: Here's an actress reading conversations about hush money that Ruby Heartthrob had with friends.

INSKEEP: (Through translator) My case scares everyone. It's worse than all the others. I told Silvio I want five million euros to compensate for my name being dragged in the mud. Silvio said: Ruby, I'll cover you in gold. The important thing is that you hide everything. Make it look like you're crazy.

POGGIOLI: The enraged leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani, said Berlusconi is not above the law and must step down.

PIER LUIGI BERSANI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.