Valletta (AFP) - Three suspects were formally charged on Tuesday over the 2017 murder of Maltese anti-corruption journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, as well as Vince Muscat, all in their fifties, were arrested in December 2017.
The justice ministry's confirmation of the charges, which allows a trial to be held, came on Tuesday just days before a 20-month deadline.
The public prosecutor now has further 20 months to set a date for the trial, which legal experts say may not take place for years.
Late last week the government of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, at the recommendation of the Council of Europe, said it would create a public commission of inquiry within the next two months, which would investigate whether the October 16, 2017 attack could have been prevented.
Caruana Galizia, described as a "one-woman WikiLeaks", was responsible for a number of corruption exposes targeting both Muscat and opposition figures.
In the wake of the murder, Malta asked American and Dutch experts to help in the probe.
After her death her sons demanded Muscat's resignation, accusing him of surrounding himself with crooks, creating a culture of impunity and turning the tiny Mediterranean state into a "mafia island".