DSK pimping trial hones in on 'bachelor pad', text messages
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was grilled Thursday in a French court on the use of his "bachelor pad" for orgies, and text messages in which the former IMF boss asked for women to be brought to sex parties.
The former head of the International Monetary Fund, on trial for pimping in the northern city of Lille denied that either proved he was an instigator of prostitution.
Strauss-Kahn has insisted he had no idea the women attending what he described as "classic" orgies in Paris, Brussels and Washington were paid to be there.
The use of his private apartment in a chic Parisian neighbourhood to host the parties is considered supporting prostitution in the eyes of the law, and is one of the key reasons investigating judges ordered him to stand trial.
While prostitution in itself is legal in France, encouraging and organising its practice is considered to be procuring and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Strauss-Kahn, 65, was questioned as to why he hid the fact that he rented the apartment from investigating judges.
"I was married at the time," said Strauss-Kahn, who explained he needed a "discreet" place to meet political friends and women, which is why the apartment was rented in the name of a friend.
He again denied knowing the women brought by his friends to sex parties at the apartment were prostitutes.
- 'Barracks talk' -
After sifting through the details of the sex parties for two days, the court then turned to Strauss-Kahn's intercepted text messages in a bid to show he played a role in organising for prostitutes to attend.
"Who do you have in your baggage?" he asked his friend and co-accused Fabrice Paszkowski in one message, while in others he referred to a woman as "equipment" or "gifts".
Strauss-Kahn maintains he was referring to women being brought to Washington for libertine parties, admitting that the language used was "barracks talk" employed between men.
He said some exchanges with Paszkowski -- who has admitted to organising and financing the parties -- in which he turned down invitations, proved "these parties were suggested to me" and he was not an instigator of them.
Strauss-Kahn's appearance in the trial, alongside 13 other accused, comes four years after his high-flying career and presidential prospects were torpedoed when he was accused of sexual assault by a New York hotel maid in May 2011, a case later settled in a civil suit.
The pimping charges against Strauss-Kahn stretch from 2008 to 2011, and lawyers highlighted the fact that after his arrest in New York, there were no more sex parties organised -- which would show he was the pivot around which the orgies took place.
"We were all very traumatised," by the arrest, said Paszkowski, who has denied having told Strauss-Kahn the women accompanying him were prostitutes.
- 'Deviant practices' -
Strauss-Kahn has said 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 an unprecedented" financial crisis.
Former prostitute Jade, who attended several of the sex parties, said that on a trip to Washington Strauss-Kahn's friends told her to pretend she was a secretary, but maintains the economist would be "naive" not to have realised she was a prostitute.
The trial has exposed Strauss-Kahn's often brutal bedroom behaviour, with Jade and two other prostitutes accusing the former presidential frontrunner of sodomising them without their permission.
Strauss-Kahn lashed out at the "absurd" need for these details in a case in which he is accused of aggravated pimping for allegedly aiding and abetting the prostitution of seven women.
"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 Wednesday.
However he said he was not on trial for "deviant practices."
He argues he is a libertine engaging in sex parties with a group of friends, including couples, arguing he often came with a female companion himself.
© 2015 AFP