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Berlusconi statue attack was a stunt

 21st January 2010


Silvio Berlusconi has been asked by prosecutors to have a medical examination of his attack injuries - prompting renewed speculation the assault was a stunt.

TV footage showed the Italian premier covered in blood after being hit in the face by a miniature statue that was hurled at him following a political rally last month.

Officials said he suffered a fractured nose and two broken teeth but websites immediately began theorising the attack was a set-up. 

Injuries: Silvio Berlusconi after the alleged attack in which was a statue was flung at him on December 13 last year

At the time his personal doctor, Alfredo Zangrillo, said he would need at least 90 days to recover from the injuries.

However just over three weeks later, Mr Berlusconi, 73, was seen without any noticeable cuts and scars.

Depending on the medical report prosecutors will decide with what offence to charge Massimo Tartaglia, 42, who threw the statue.

Under Italian law if a recovery is deemed to be less than 40 days then the offence is wounding.

However if recovery time is longer then the more serious charge of wounding with intent comes into play.

Out and about: However, Berlusconi looked injury free as he attended an official visit on Tueday

Websites had hinted at a stunt because of his bizarre reaction in the minutes after the statue was thrown at him, as he was seen bringing a dark cloth to his face in less than a second.

Other footage shows him in his car being handed something by an assistant.

Perhaps the most questionable issue is that rather than leave the area - standard practice after an attack on a VIP - he stands and waves to the crowd before being driven to hospital.

Prosecutor Armando Spataro who is investigating the case has asked for two facial specialists doctors to examine Berlusconi next week and give a report.

A prosecution source said: 'It's an obligatory matter of routine. It has to be done.'

Under arrest: His attacked Massimo Tartaglia (centre) is in custody awaiting trial

Berlusconi has always insisted that he is the victim of left wing orientated prosecutors and his political allies rallied round him following new sof the medical request.

Francesco Casoli, a senator with Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party, stormed: 'What the prosecutor has asked for is against all good sense and logic.

''In essence by asking for this medical examination the Milan prosecutor is calling into question the health of the Prime Minister - once again the judiciary is showing how it feels superior to the elected authority.'

Dr Zangrillo, who will be at Monday's examination, said: 'To be honest the Prime Minister is still having difficulty eating and he is still in some discomfort which is giving him trouble sleeping.'

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office said they had no comment to make,. Tartaglia remains in custody after the attack on December 13.



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