Civil parties in Strauss-Kahn trial drop damages claim

Civil parties in the pimping trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn — including prostitutes and prostitution charities — drop their damages claim against the former IMF boss.

LILLE, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 17, 2015) (REUTERS) – A lawyer for the civil parties in Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s pimping trial said on Tuesday (February 17) that the former IMF chief’s profile had brought important publicity to the plight of prostitutes, even though his clients were dropping their claim for damages against him.

Lawyers representing the prostitutes who participated in the sex parties at the centre of the trial, along with prostitution charities, gave up their claim for damages on Monday, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove the pimping charge against Strauss-Kahn.

The surprise announcement suggested that the 65 year-old’s defence that he did not know the women participating in the parties were prostitutes had been effective.

But it does nothing to stop the criminal trial which continues against Strauss-Kahn and 13 other defendants.

“The charges which justified bringing Dominique Strauss-Kahn before the court were not enough to demonstrate fully that there had been an infraction and as a result we have decided not to request damages, but that’s not a complete withdrawal. We remain civil parties, we will see the trial through to the end and we have asked for all of the other defendants to be instructed to pay damages,” lawyer David Lepidi said.

“It was a notion of chic pimping which was taboo, which the public was unaware of, but thanks to the “media attention”, in inverted commas, which has surrounded Dominique Strauss-Kahn, we have finally been able to denounce this sort of practice publicly. And that’s a first victory,” he added.

The trial is expected to run through until Friday with the defendants’ lawyers set to lay out their cases later in the week.

Prosecutors at the trial on Tuesday began setting out the punishments they felt were justified, including a two year prison sentence for sex club manager Dominique Alderweireld, alias Dodo la Saumure.

“What is not understandable is that they have asked for you to be convicted when you keep saying you have committed no crime in France. We’d just like to remind everyone of that. And, by the way, a proportion of the facts is outdated,” said Sorin Margulis, the lawyer for Alderweireld.

Prosecutors are expected to outline their demands for Strauss-Kahn later on Tuesday.

The former French presidential favourite faces up to ten years in prison and up to a 1.5 million euro fine if convicted.