New court date for Strauss-Kahn
The sun never sets on former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s legal battle over allegations of sexual assault in New York and knowingly participating in an illegal prostitution racket in northern France. He is due before French judges next month.
Former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be questioned by investigating magistrates next month over his alleged involvement in orgies linked to an illegal prostitution racket.
Strauss Kahn’s hearing, due on March 28, follows a 32-hour grilling on Tuesday and Wednesday by police on charges of "abetting aggravated pimping by an organised gang" and "misuse of company funds".
Strauss-Kahn, known as DSK in France, will suffer the concurrent headache of renewed legal action in the US, where the New York maid who claims he sexually assaulted her in May 2011 begins civil proceedings on March 15. Criminal charges for the alleged assault were dropped in August 2011.
While the news of Strauss-Kahn’s police grilling made the front pages across France, the French Huffington Post website, whose editor is Strauss-Kahn’s wife Anne Sinclair, also headlined with the story.
The website said on Thursday that his appointment with investigating judges in Lille in Northern France was “yet another stage in the former IMF chief’s legal saga. He is now officially under investigation for taking part in orgies involving businessmen, police officers and prostitutes.”
Sinclair has stood by her husband, who had been widely tipped to be the French Socialist Party candidate in the forthcoming presidential election, since his arrest in New York last year.
The Carlton Affair
Two French businessmen with links to Strauss Kahn, Fabrice Paszkowski and David Roquet, have already been charged in the French prostitution case.
They are accused of using French and Belgian prostitution networks to host orgies centred on the Carlton Hotel in Lille and in Paris. Three hotel executives, a lawyer and the town’s police chief are also facing trial.
The last of these sex parties is alleged to have taken place in Washington D.C. with prostitutes and other participants flown over from France, between May 11 and 13 2011, the day before DSK was accused of sexual assault at the Manhattan Sofitel.
Strauss-Kahn is open about his uninhibited sexual activity and admits attending orgies. But he denies any wrongdoing, specifically that he had any idea the women involved were prostitutes, procured and paid for by his hosts.
On Thursday his lawyer Henri Leclerc told reporters: “In these parties, you're not necessarily dressed. I defy you to tell the difference between a nude prostitute and a nude woman of quality."
Precisely whether Strauss-Kahn knew the women were prostitutes is what the investigating magistrates will want to determine. His hosts face up to 20 years in jail if convicted of aggravated pimping. They also face five-year terms if they are found to have illegally used company funds to pay for sex.
New York ‘attempted rape’ and conspiracy allegations
Before he goes before French magistrates, Strauss-Kahn will also be burdened by the first hearing of a civil case brought against him by New York hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, who maintains that Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape her in the Manhattan Hotel room where she had gone to clean on May 14, 2011.
Strauss-Kahn was arrested later that day but insisted throughout the trial that he was being framed. Prosecutors later dropped the charges saying Diallo had credibility problems.
Some of his allies have also claimed there was a conspiracy against him and that he was set up.
In May last year, Strauss-Kahn was considered to be the only viable Socialist challenger to take on French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the May 2012 presidential election.
That mantle has been assumed by Francois Hollande, who still holds a (narrowing) poll lead over Sarkozy.