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Berlusconi lawyers seek to delay sex-for-hire case

MILAN (AP) — Silvio Berlusconi's judicial woes weighed on Italy's political future on Monday as prosecutors requested an accelerated trial of the former premier on corruption charges and judges in his sex-for-hire trial ordered a medical visit to certify his ailments.

The judicial jockeying comes at a politically sensitive time for Italy, as it seeks to form a stable government following inconclusive national elections on Feb. 24-25.

Democratic Party leader Pier Bersani, whose forces finished first in the lower house vote, has ruled out an alliance with Berlusconi's center-right coalition, which finished second. But Bersani's options are limited as comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo, whose movement finished third, refuses to align with any major party. Talks will begin March 20, after Parliament convenes Friday and votes in leaders of both houses.

Berlusconi has been seeking to have two Milan trials postponed due to an eye condition for which he has been hospitalized since Friday. Judges in Berlusconi's tax fraud appeal continued with Saturday's hearing after court-appointed doctors said his ailments were not severe enough to keep him from court.

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