Berlusconi to Stand Trial on Sex Charges

Wed, 02/16/2011 - 04:43

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s day in court has been set for April 6th. The scandal-plagued politician did his best to have charges of paying an under-aged prostitute for sex dismissed, but prosecutors successfully presented enough evidence to call for a formal trial.

Berlusconi is accused of paying Karima El Mahroug for sex when she was only 17, a charge that he vehemently denies. He will also be tried for abuse of power for his involvement in requesting Mahroug be released from police custody when she was detained on suspicion of theft.

Ms. Mahroug, now 18, is better known as 'Ruby Rubacuori,' or 'Ruby Heart-Stealer.' She has denied sleeping with the prime minister for cash, but does admit that he gave her gifts valued at over 7,000 Euros.

While still awaiting his court date in Milan, Silvio Berlusconi is already being tried in the court of public opinion. The billionaire politician’s approval rating hovers around 35%, but public demonstrations protesting his actions are becoming increasingly frequent. On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Italian women gathered across the country in a show of solidarity, requesting the prime minister’s resignation.