Silvio Berlusconi will go to court to face charges that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and later used his power to cover it up.
The Italian Prime Minister has been indicted (following requests by prosecutors in Milan that he stand trial immediately).
The development follows rabid anti-Berlusconi demonstrations across Italy over the weekend demanding his resignation.
The examining judge who handed down the indictment Cristina Di Censo said the legal process will commence on April 6 (in front of three female judges).
Patronizing prostitutes is not a criminal offense in Italy, but having sex with someone under the age of 18 is punishable with a prison term.
Prosecutors claim they have documents proving that Berlusconi paid money to many young women.
The prime minister could face up to fifteen years in prison, if convicted.
Berlusconi had denied accusations that he paid for sex with a Moroccan stripper Karima El Mahroug (nicknamed ‘Ruby’) when she was 17, characterizing the charges as “groundless” and politically motivated.
He also denied accusations that he abused his power by seeking her release when she was arrested in a separate case involving theft.
Berlusconi said however that he did try to help the girl get out of a jam with the police, but only because he thought she was the granddaughter of recently deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. (Berlusconi and Mubarak are reportedly close friends).
Ruby, now aged 18, has denied having sex with Berlusconi and admitted that he provided her with 7000 euros in cash after a party in his villa.