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Corruption trial now for Berlusconi

Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is to stand trial in February on a political corruption charge, a judge has ruled.

Berlusconi and co-defendant Valter Lavitola are accused of corruption for an alleged payoff to former senator Sergio De Gregorio to switch sides several years ago from the rival centre-left to Berlusconi's centre-right bloc.

The switch eventually led to the collapse of a former government. Lavitola's lawyer Guido Iaccarino said the Naples judge decided "trial is needed to determine the truth." In a plea-bargain deal, De Gregorio was sentenced to 20 months in prison for corruption.

Berlusconi has denied corruption. He has already been found guilty in two other trials of tax fraud and having sex with an under-age prostitute.


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