French political figure Dominique Strauss-Kahn—against whom charges were controversially dropped after a New York City hotel employee accused him of sexual assault—has gone on trial in France for his alleged participation in an international sex-party ring staffed by prostitutes. From the New York Times:
Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 65, who was once seen as a presidential contender, stands accused in Lille, France, with 13 other defendants, including Dominique Alderweireld, a sex club owner known as Dodo la Saumure. Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a silver-haired economist, is charged with “aggravated procurement in a group,” or pimping, and using his subordinates to obtain prostitutes for lavish sex parties.
Prostitution is legal in France, but facilitating and soliciting it are not. The Guardian says 15 “soirées” organized around Strauss-Kahn’s schedule, including some in Brussels and New York, are involved in the case and that he’s described in court papers as “the king of the party.” Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys say he “never made a secret of his penchant for sex parties” but did not have a major role in organizing them and did not know the women he was having sex with were prostitutes.
Strauss-Kahn faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, but the Guardian says that “few, if any” observers “believe that Strauss-Kahn will be locked up.”