The trial of Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on charges that he paid a teenaged nightclub dancer for sex and later abused his power in an attempt to cover it up started on Wednesday and was immediately adjourned.
Neither Berlusconi nor the woman, Moroccan-born Karima El Mahroug — who goes by the stage name of Ruby the Heartstealer — were in the courtroom when the trial was declared open.
The premier was holding a ministerial meeting in Rome to discuss Libya. He has denied wrongdoing.
The brief session was held under tight security, with some 100 police patrolling the courthouse in downtown Milan.
TV crews and other media from around the world were on hand for the opening session.
The judge, after just a few minutes of preliminary matters, adjourned the trial until May 31.