Berlusconi Uses Animal Farm Defense

Lawyers argue 'more equal' PM shouldn't be prosecuted
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2009 3:12 AM CDT
Silvio Berlusconi's lawyers Niccolo Ghedini and Piero Longo, wait for the start of a constitutional court hearing, in Rome yesterday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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(Newser) – All Italians are equal but some are more equal than others, according to lawyers seeking to prevent Silvio Berlusconi from standing trial on corruption charges. A constitutional court examining the legitimacy of a law shielding prime ministers from prosecution—which was introduced by Berlusconi himself—was told the leader is no longer "first among equals," but "first above equals." Outraged opposition pointed out that the logic resembles a rationalization presented in a sinister future depicted in George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Murderous pigs in the popular political satire operate with impunity because “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others," according to their farm motto. The Italian panel is expected to rule within a week on whether the immunity law stands, reports the Times of London. If judges veto it, Berlusconi will face prosecution on numerous bribery and corruption charges. The potential damage to his government would likely dwarf that of his recent string of sex-capades.
(Read more corruption stories.)