A defiant Silvio Berlusconi vowed yesterday to rule with "even more grit" despite looming criminal trials on corruption charges. The trials "are false, laughable, absurd,” scoffed the Italian prime minister, who has been stripped of his immunity from prosecution. “I will defend myself in the courtroom and make my accusers look ridiculous.” Berlusconi accused Italy's president, Giorgio Napolitano, of being part of a left-wing plot to unseat him.
Berlusconi told a late-night TV show that the president should have used his influence to persuade the constitutional court not to lift his immunity, and told a female member of parliament who disagreed that she was "more beautiful than intelligent." Berlusconi, who stands 5-foot-5 "is taller than he is well-mannered," her colleague retorted.