Did Italy’s Berlusconi Pay for Sex?

My piece on the latest accusations against Silvio Berlusconi have just run in Time.

For Silvio Berlusconi, the news couldn’t come at a worse time. The day after Italy’s constitutional court struck down parts of a controversial law that had provided him immunity from his ongoing criminal trials, prosecutors confirmed on Friday, Jan. 14, that the embattled Prime Minister was under investigation for allegedly paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl last year.

The allegations are by far the worst the scandal-ridden Berlusconi has faced during a long history of battles with Italy’s legal system — which he has characterized as a campaign of political persecutions by left-wing judges. They include charges that the 74-year-old Prime Minister abused his position when he called a police station last May and intervened to free the girl in question, Karima El Mahroug, after she was detained on suspicion of theft.

Read the rest.