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Berlusconi ‘Not Worried’ About Impending Trial

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (file photo)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (file photo)

Embattled Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he is not worried about a judge's order that he stand trial on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and abused his power.

He commented Wednesday when questioned during a news conference designed to focus on economic issues. He said he intends to finish his term in office, which ends in 2013.

A judge in Milan issued the indictment Tuesday and said the trial is scheduled to begin April 6.

Prosecutors say Mr. Berlusconi paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl in his villa. They say he then used his political influence to get the woman out of police custody after she was arrested on a theft charge.

The 74-year-old prime minister denies the charge, and the young woman, who is now 18, says she never slept with him.

Prostitution is legal in Italy, but paying for sex with girls younger than 18 is not.

Hundreds of thousands of women marched across Italy Sunday demanding Mr. Berlusconi resign over the allegations. He has also been accused of hosting parties at his home with large numbers of young girls as his guests.

Mr. Berlusconi has said all the charges against him are politically driven.

He has been on trial numerous times on separate corruption charges. His guilty verdicts were overturned or the cases were tossed out during the slow appeals process.