Image: Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi
Luca Bruno  /  AP
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, center, flanked by his bodyguards, smiles as he speaks to his supporters outside Milan's courthouse where he attended his trial on tax fraud charge, on Monday, April 11. Berlusconi says attending a hearing of his tax fraud trial in Milan was a waste of time and resources.
By
updated 4/13/2011 3:50:14 PM ET 2011-04-13T19:50:14

Italy's lower chamber of parliament has approved legislation that would cut the length of trials in Italy and effectively end an ongoing bribery case against Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

The lower Chamber of Deputies approved the bill 314-296, amid protests inside and outside the chamber. It now passes to the Senate, where Berlusconi's coalition has a majority.

It's the latest piece of legislation that critics say is tailor-made to suit Berlusconi's interests. The bill approved Wednesday cuts the length of trials for some defendants who haven't been previously convicted.

The measure would effectively end a trial where Berlusconi is accused of bribing British lawyer David Mills to offer false testimony. Berlusconi denies wrongdoing.

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