Strauss-Kahn denies knowing sex party women were prostitutes

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn denies knowing that the women at sex parties he attended were prostitutes.

LILLE, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 10, 2015) (REUTERS) – Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a French court on Tuesday (February 10) that he did not know the women at “festive and playful” sex parties he attended were prostitutes, saying that would have been too risky given his then-role as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Strauss-Kahn, 65, is accused of instigating about a dozen parties he knew involved prostitutes from 2008 to 2011 in the northern French city of Lille, Paris, Washington and Brussels.

But Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt, the lawyer of one of the prostitutes involved in the parties, said Strauss-Kahn could not have known her client was a prostitute.

“Clearly, he could not have known (that the women were prostitutes). Given the general set-up, the positioning and presentation of Ms. Legrain, who introduced herself as a restaurateur, who was dressed completely normally, nothing suggested that she might be a prostitute,” she said.

The question of whether or not Strauss-Kahn knew the women were prostitutes and who organised the parties is central to the three-week trial, in which he is charged with “procuring with aggravating circumstances”, or pimping.

Strauss-Kahn downplayed the frequency of the parties, and cast them as casual meetings between like-minded people.

Prostitute Beatrice Legrain, who is also the partner of defendant and owner of Belgian sex club Dominique Alderweireld, said Strauss-kahn had not been violent with her.

“He made me a proposition which I turned down. Full stop. He was not violent,” she told journalists.

Alderweireld, also known as “Dodo la Saumure”, said the former IMF chief had been “very good” and “perfectly reasonable” when addressing the court.

But a lawyer for civil parties, Emmanuel Daoud, said he did not believe Strauss-Kahn could have ignored that the women attending the parties were prostitutes.

“I don’t think that’s at all credible, given how frequent these encounters were, given the nature of these encounters and once again, however astonishing the seductive powers of these men may be, clearly when you see how many women came to these encounters, and as we found out this morning through Mounia’s testimony, they were not very joyful and full of pleasure, it’s hard to imagine they were there entirely consenting, and because these gentlemen all had beautiful eyes,” he said.

Strauss-Kahn was tipped to become French president before being accused of sexual assault by a New York hotel chambermaid in 2011. U.S. criminal charges were dropped, and the allegations that he participated in a French sex ring emerged later.

Strauss-Kahn, who says his political career is already over, could face 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 1.5 million euros ($1.72 million) if convicted.

Investigating magistrates who sent the matter to trial say the procuring charge applies because in France it covers any activity seen as facilitating prostitution. This could include the fact that the parties sometimes took place at Strauss-Kahn’s rented apartment and that they were expressly organised for him.

Because he did not pay the prostitutes himself, he is alleged to have received benefit in kind from prostitution.

Fourteen people in all, including Strauss-Kahn, are defendants in the “Carlton Affair” trial, so named after the hotel in Lille that sparked the investigation into a sex ring.