'Too many girls' says Berlusconi
Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi claims he is too old to have had all the sexual encounters he is accused of by prosecutors.
The 74-year-old faces trial in Milan over charges that he paid for sex with an under-age Moroccan girl and used his influence to try cover it up.
In court documents, the prosecutors have identified 33 women, including the Moroccan, allegedly involved in parties at Berlusconi's villa.
The premier told La Repubblica newspaper that "even though I am a little brat ... 33 girls in two months seems like too much even for a 30-year-old".
He vows to participate in all hearings of his trial, which opens on April 6.
"It's too much for anybody," Mr Berlusconi said.
He insisted he had a girlfriend, whose identity is secret, who was always with him and would not have allowed what the prosecutors allege.
"She would have ripped my eyes out," he said.
Mr Berlusconi spoke a few hours after Milan prosecutors notified three of his associates that an investigation into their alleged role in the scandal is closed. The move paves the way for the prosecutors' request for an indictment against the three, accused of procuring women for the premier and, for one suspect, handling payments.
Paying for sex is not a crime in Italy, but it is if the prostitute is under the age of 18.