Moments ago, the troubled former head of the IMF whose reign at the top of the international bailout organization ended dramatically after an alleged 2011 rape scandal in a NYC hotel the charges for which were later dropped by not before terminating his employment at the IMF, his marriage and his political career, Dominique Strauss-Kahn finally got some good news when a French court cleared him of "aggravated pimping" charges in which he was accused of helping to operate a prostitution ring of seven women out of the Carlton Hotel in the northern French city of Lille.
The outcome of the case should not come as a surprise because even the prosecutor on the case Frédéric Fèvre had said previously there wasn’t enough evidence to demonstrate he was an organizer of the ring. The three judges hearing the case aren’t bound by the prosecutor’s recommendation, but lawyers say Mr. Fèvre’s opinion is expected to influence their final decision.
“For the first time, there was a contradictory debate that focused on the law and the case collapsed by itself,” Henri Leclerc, one of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, said at the time.
As the WSJ reminds us, the Lille trial was the latest in a string of sexual allegations that have dogged the former French presidential hopeful in recent years. "His position atop the world of global finance teetered after he was arrested in New York nearly four years ago on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid. He denied the charges, and the case was later dropped. Following his detention in New York, Mr. Strauss-Kahn resigned from his post at the IMF, got divorced and later abandoned political life."
In the just concluded trial, Strauss-Kahn found himself in the dock alongside a colourful cast of 13 characters including a senior police officer and brothel owner Dominique Alderweireld, known as "Dodo the Pimp".
Alderweireld admits providing prostitutes to friends of Strauss-Kahn, who are among the accused, and testified to keeping the women's true nature a secret as they sought to impress the "future president of the republic".
Fevre called for a series of suspended sentences and fines ranging from €2,500 to €20,000 ($2,800 to $22,000) for the 13 other accused.
"This was not a mafia network that was dismantled," said Fevre, but a group of friends trying to "satisfy egos, ambitions and quite simply, physical desires".
And while the case if now closed, DSK did provide some entertaining justifications for his behavior. Via The local.fr:
At his trial in February, Strauss-Kahn calmly fended off the accusations, saying that while he was a libertine who enjoyed group sex, he was unaware any of the women attending the soirees had been paid to be there.
However, he lost his temper as lawyers pushed the former prostitutes to recount brutal scenes in which he sodomised them, allegedly without their permission, saying he was not on trial for "deviant practices".
"I must have a sexuality which, compared to average men, is more rough. Women have the right not to like that whether they are prostitutes or not," he said.
He said the use of prostitutes "horrified" him and that paying for sex would be too great a risk for a man at the head of the IMF, which was busy "saving the world" from the financial crisis that began in 2008.
So brutally sodomising women without their permission is ok, but paying for prostitutes is bad? That seems fairly logical.
In any event, in their closing arguments, his lawyers said the case against him had "collapsed" into nothing more than an indictment of Strauss-Kahn's morals, and the prosecution appeared to agree.
Main prosecutor Frederic Fevre called for Strauss-Kahn to be acquitted, saying that "neither the judicial enquiry nor the hearing have established that Mr Strauss-Kahn is guilty".
In another boost for Strauss-Kahn, two ex-prostitutes who attended the orgies dropped a civil lawsuit against him, with lawyers saying they lacked enough proof to win the case.
To summarize: a lot of money was exchanged behind the scenes and DSK is now free.