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Italian Judge Orders Ex-PM Berlusconi to Stand Trial for Alleged Corruption


A Milan judge has ordered former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and British lawyer David Mills to stand trial on corruption charges.

Berlusconi is accused of paying Mills $600,000 in exchange for false testimony in two earlier corruption trials involving the former prime minister. Both deny the charges.

Their trial is expected to start in March. Both men face jail terms of up to eight years if convicted.

Mills and Berlusconi are facing a separate trial on charges of fraud and tax evasion in connection with the purchase of broadcast rights for U.S. films by Berlusconi's television company.

Mills is the estranged husband of British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. A British parliamentary investigation has cleared her of any wrongdoing in connection to the bribe her husband allegedly received.

Berlusconi, one of Italy's richest men, was convicted three times in the 1990s on charges of corruption and fraud. The verdicts were either overturned on appeal or voided cause the statute of limitations had run out. Berlusconi lost power to Prime Minister Romano Prodi in April parliamentary elections.

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