Italy judge: Berlusconi trial won't be accelerated

Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi wears sunglasses as he attends the vote operations at the Senate, in Rome Saturday, March 16, 2013. Berlusconi was met with jeers from protesters as he arrived to take part in the Senate vote, a day after leaving a Milan hospital following a week's treatment for an eye inflammation. Before entering the Senate building, he turned to the protesters and said "shame on you." Berlusconi has been seeking to have two trials — a tax fraud appeal and a sex-for-hire hearing — postponed due to the eye condition. The courts responded by dispatching court-appointed doctors to verify its severity. (AP Photo/Mauro Scrobogna) ITALY OUT

MILAN (AP) — 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 €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.