Italy's constitutional court has thrown out a controversial law granting Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution.
Berlusconi faces resumption of trial
The law, passed by parliament last year, gave Mr Berlusconi immunity as long as he remained in office.
Its rejection paves the way for the resumption of an abandoned corruption trial against Mr Berlusconi.
Critics had claimed the bill was an overt attempt to scupper the trial, and challenged it on the grounds that it breached Italian equality laws.
The constitutional court judges agreed that the law breached rules on equality, and had other concerns, reports said.
The law also applied to the holders of four other top Italian public positions.
The introduction of the law halted the trial, which was under way in Milan, and which Mr Berlusconi had already attended to give evidence in his defence.
"It's good news because we have always said that this law is unconstitutional and immoral," said former anti-corruption judge Antonio di Pietro.
Mr Berlusconi, a tycoon who is Italy's richest man, was accused of attempting to bribe a judge during a business takeover deal.
Prosecutors alleged he was trying to stop a rival firm taking over state-owned food group SME in the 1980s.
Mr Berlusconi claimed the trial was politically motivated. He has said left-wing Milan magistrates are trying to undermine him, describing the charges as "fantasy".
Mr Berlusconi is believed to be worth more than 10 billion euros ($13 billion).