French prosecutor urges judges to clear Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Former IMF chief facing aggravated pimping charges over his role in a series of sex parties
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and 13 others are charged with hiring prostitutes for orgies in a case known as the “Carlton Affair” for the name of the hotel in Lille where some of the sex parties took place. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg.
A French prosecutor has urged judges to clear Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges of aggravated pimping.
The intervention comes after two weeks of hearings revealing sordid details of the disgraced politician’s sex life but little proof he helped orchestrate a prostitution ring at the centre of the trial.
The former head of the International Monetary Fund should be acquitted as no evidence reviewed during the inquiry and the trial back the charges, public prosecutor Frederic Fevre told the court in Lille on Tuesday.
Mr Strauss-Kahn was accused of aiding and abetting in the prostitution of seven women from March 2008 to 2011 when the trial opened this month.
“I demand his full acquittal,” Mr Fevre said. “Everyone is allowed to lead the sexual life they wish so long as that remains within the boundaries of the law.”
He added: “We are working with the penal code, not with the moral code.”
Mr Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he’s known across France, is one of 14 defendants in a case known as the “Carlton Affair” for the name of the hotel in Lille where some of the orgies took place.
The sex scandal is one of two that derailed his once promising political career and made him a figure of global derision. Mr Strauss-Kahn has always denied knowing any of the women he had sex with were prostitutes.
Gilles Maton, a lawyer defending two prostitutes seeking compensation in this case, said both were dropping their claims against Mr Strauss-Kahn due to a lack of evidence, French broadcaster Europe 1 reported Monday.
In France, the prosecutor often argues the case built by the magistrate who led the investigation and ordered the trial. The prosecution can disagree with the magistrate, leaving the trial judges - in this case a three-judge panel led by Bernard Lemaire - to ultimately decide on the verdict, usually a few weeks after the hearings end.
Mr Strauss-Kahn faced questions about his sexual preferences during his testimony last week, with the one-time presidential hopeful conceding that he might be “rougher” than other men.
He was also quizzed about a text message in which he asked a friend to bring “equipment” to a sex party.
The former IMF chief said his use of the word to refer to women was “inappropriate.” The 65-year-old said his sexual behavior and the use of the phrase didn’t mean he saw the women as sex workers.
Paying for sex isn’t illegal in France, said Mr Fevre in his opening comments Tuesday morning. While some may disapprove, “judges aren’t meant to criticize the law but to apply it,” the public prosecutor said.
Mr Fevre said that judges should bear in mind in their verdict that among the 14 accused men and women “some lost everything, their work, their honour, their reputation.”
“This wasn’t a mafia network that was dismantled” but rather a “group of friends” who organized orgies, Mr Fevre said.