Earlier, judges in a Milan court had retired to consider their verdict on Monday in a trial surrounding allegations that Berlusconi had sex with former nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, known as "Ruby the Heart Stealer," who was then under 18.
More crucially for his political career, the former head of government is accused of abusing his office when he intervened to get her released from police custody when she was arrested in a separate incident.
Italy's coalition government, led by center-left Prime Minister Enrico Letta, depends for its survival on Berlusconi's center-right party, making trial a source of tension for the nation's politics.
Prosecutors had asked for one year in jail for paying for sex with a minor and five years and a life ban from holding public office for the abuse-of-power charge. Even if he loses the appeal, the 76-year old politician may be too old for a custodial sentence and could instead be put under house arrest.
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According to Giovanni Orsina, professor of Italian history at the Luiss-Guido Carli University in Rome, the real worry for Berlusconi and the future of the government isn't Monday's ruling but a tax fraud case that he faces, which could ultimately undo his political career.
"This trial has more visibility, it's more interesting than the tax trial, but ultimately the tax fraud trial will have more of a final effect," Orsina said. "But the trial in November over tax fraud is the last appeal, and if guilty, Berlusconi would be out of politics for good."
Berlusconi is already appealing a recent court ruling convicting him of tax fraud.
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There have been a number of conflicts between Letta's and Berlusconi's parties over tax increases and spending cuts, most recently a planned sales tax rise. Berlusconi's party has demanded that the increase be canceled, creating further concerns for the fragile coalition.
Tensions have not been helped by high-profile and thinly veiled messages to the coalition partners from Berlusconi and his supporters. On Saturday, for instance, Il Giornale newspaper, which is owned by Berlusconi's brother, said in a front-page article that the government would fall unless Letta canceled the sales tax increase.
Berlusconi is like "a powerful animal in a corner," but he won't try to unseat the government, Orsina told CNBC.
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"Berlusconi feels caged ... but he's also a rational animal, and I don't see where he can go from here," said Orsina, the author of a forthcoming book titled "Berlusconism." "He's not going to leave or kill the coalition government now—it wouldn't be in his interests."