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Italy judge: Berlusconi trial won't be accelerated

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March 19, 2013 10:15 AM EST | AP

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MILAN — A judge in Naples has denied prosecutors' request for an accelerated trial against former Premier Silvio Berlusconi on charges of corruption.

Judge Marina Cimma ruled Tuesday that a preliminary hearing will decide if there is enough evidence to support corruption charges against the former leader for allegedly having paid a rival lawmaker to join his party, a move that weakened the previous government of Romano Prodi. Prosecutors had requested to go straight to trial, arguing that the evidence was overwhelming to support corruption charges.

The lawmaker, Sergio De Gregorio, has said he was paid (EURO)3 million ($3.9 million) to join Berlusconi's party.

Berlusconi faces two other active trials in Milan, both nearing verdicts. They are his sex-for-hire trial and his appeal for a tax-fraud conviction.