It's time you acquitted DSK, prosecutor tells 'pimp' trial
The former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, should be cleared of "pimping", the French state prosecutor said yesterday.
A trial in Lille over the last two weeks has failed to produce any evidence that the former French politician "instigated" and organised a series of sex parties with prostitutes, the prosecutor said.
The final decision on DSK's innocence or guilt rests with a panel of four judges. It now seems likely, however, that Mr Strauss-Khan will be acquitted of the only charge to reach trial after four years of accusations of sexual misconduct in France and the United States.
As the trial reached its denouement, Lille prosecutor Frederic Fèvre said: "Did he organise these parties? The answer is no. Did he pay for these parties? The answer is no? Did he search out these prostitutes? The answer is no.
"Neither the investigation nor the trial justified the charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn. I call for him to be acquitted, pure and simple."
The prosecutor called earlier for the conviction of most of the 13 other defendants in the case, but recommended relatively lenient sentences.
Two businessmen in northern France, Fabrice Paszkowski and David Roquet, are accused of organising sex parties in France, Belgium and the United States to ingratiate themselves with DSK, who once considered a run for the French presidency. The prosecution recommended two-year suspended jail sentence and a €20,000 fine against both men.
The only prison sentence recommended by the prosecutor today was a one-year term - plus another year suspended - against the Belgian sex-club owner Dominique Alderweireld. He was accused of supplying prostitutes to a sex ring based at the Carlton Hotel in Lille, which led to the international sex parties.
Under French law, anyone who helps to organise acts of prostitution can be considered guilty of pimping, even if they take no financial benefit. The examining magistrates who investigated the case believed that Mr Strauss-Kahn was the "instigator" and an organiser of the orgies-sans-frontières and therefore guilty of pimping.
During a break in the hearing, Mr Strauss-Khan chatted to journalists about the case for the first time. Speaking before the prosecution announced its recommendations, DSK said: "There is nothing against me in this case. I have known that for three and a half years."
Mr Strauss-Kahn was asked whether two ex-prostitutes who told the court last week about "brutal" experiences with him were lying. He replied: "No, I don't say they were lying but they have perhaps revisited their memories."
Mr Strauss-Kahn said that the real damage to the two women had been caused by media publicity, not his own actions. "These girls, what most destroyed them, was not what happened but the press circus over the last three years," he said. The prosecutor Mr Fèvre came close to criticising the approach of the investigating magistrates who insisted on sending DSK for trial. He said that he was "troubled" that, of all those involved, the investigation had dwelt on the "detail of the sexual practises of only one man" - Mr Strauss-Kahn.
The celebrity or "notoriety" of the former IMF chief cannot justify a "severe" approach by the French justice system, Mr Fèvre said.
His recommendations for acquittal were not a surprise. During the questioning of DSK last week, the two prosecutors scarcely asked him a question. Most of the interrogation was left to the judges.
On the second day of his testimony on Wednesday, Mr Strauss-Kahn complained that he seemed to be on trial for having an unconventional and "rough" but legal sex life, rather than for "pimping".
"I'm beginning to have enough of all this," he said. "You would think that I was on trial for deviant sexual practices. But there is no longer any such law (in France)."
There will be defence statements today and tomorrow. Mr Strauss-Kahn is expected to make a personal declaration to the court on Friday, attacking the investigating judges and the press.
The four judges, two men and two women, will then almost certainly delay judgment for several weeks. (© Independent News Service)