ROME – A judge has ordered former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial in February on a political corruption charge.
A lawyer for co-defendant Valter Lavitola, an ex-party newspaper editor, told Sky TG24 TV that a judge issued the indictment Wednesday in Naples. Calls to the courthouse went unanswered.
Berlusconi and Lavitola are accused of corruption for an alleged payoff to former Senator Sergio De Gregorio to switch sides several years ago from the rival center-left to Berlusconi's center-right bloc. The lawmaker's switch of allegiance eventually led to the collapse of a former government. Lawyer Guido Iaccarino says the 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, Italian news reports said.
Berlusconi has denied corruption.