Silvio Berlusconi

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An Italian judge ordered Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial April 6 on charges that he paid an underage girl for sex and then abused the powers of his office by helping release her from police custody. While Berlusconi's center-right coalition stood by the Prime Minister, his support among Italians continued to fall. On Feb. 13, hundreds of thousands of protesters, primarily women, marched against the Premier, who has refused to resign. The Italian leader, 74, allegedly paid for sex with Karima El Mahroug, a then 17-year-old nightclub dancer. Prosecutors say she was later detained for theft but was released after police received a call from Berlusconi.