Prosecutor asks French court to acquit Strauss-Kahn of pimping charges

Story highlights

  • "Has (Strauss-Kahn) paid prostitutes? The answer is no," prosecutor says
  • The prosecutor's office has long said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the case
  • But investigative magistrates pursed case against him and others; trial began earlier this month

(CNN)Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn should be acquitted of aggravated pimping charges because of insufficient evidence, a prosecutor told a French criminal court Tuesday at the trial of the onetime potential contender for the French presidency.

The Lille prosecutor's stance on the case -- in which investigators argued that Strauss-Kahn organized or encouraged sex parties involving prostitutes -- isn't new. His office said in 2013 that evidence didn't support the charges, but investigative magistrates nevertheless pursued the case to trial, which began two weeks ago.
"Was (Strauss-Kahn) an organizer of these evenings? The answer is no. He did not give instructions," Lille Prosecutor Frederic Fevre said, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV. "Has (he) benefited financially from prostitution? The answer is no. Has he paid prostitutes? The answer is no."
    Neither the investigation nor the trial supports the pimping charges, Fevre said.
    Investigators alleged that the sex parties, in locations such as Belgium, New York and Washington, stemmed from a prostitution ring, organized from the Hotel Carlton in Lille.
    Strauss-Kahn, who was married to French TV journalist Anne Sinclair until their divorce in 2013, has never denied that he took part in the parties. But the crux of his defense is that he did not know that prostitutes were involved.
    In testimony last week, he acknowledged that the sexual encounters were organized in such a way that they could fit his agenda, but he denied organizing the parties or knowing that the women involved in the parties were prostitutes.
    "I don't consider myself as the organizer of any party whatsoever," he said last week, adding that he had never asked anyone to organize parties for him.
    In France, prostitution is legal, but pimping is not.
    Prosecutors allege that two other defendants, businessman David Roquet and Fabrice Paszkowski, a businessman friend of the former IMF director, picked up the bills for the sex parties.
    Strauss-Kahn saw his stellar career plummet to earth after a separate sex scandal that resulted in his arrest in New York in 2011. He was later cleared of the New York allegations.
    Before that scandal erupted, he had been on track to run for the French presidency -- an election that his Socialist Party later won with Francois Hollande as its candidate.
    The Lille prosecutor's office in late 2013 asked for Strauss-Kahn's case to be dismissed, citing a lack of evidence. However, the investigating magistrates did not follow its recommendations.
    A judgment in the case could come "within months," Fevre's spokeswoman, Maud Perraudeau, said Tuesday.