Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s treatment of women was again under scrutiny as French judges quizzed him about a text message in which he asked a friend to bring “equipment” to a sex party.
Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, admitted Thursday using the word to refer to women was “inappropriate.” The 65-year-old, who is accused of aggravated pimping, said the use of the phrase doesn’t mean he saw them as sex workers.
In a text message, “it’s easy to be uninhibited,” the 65-year-old Strauss-Kahn said on his last day of testimony in Lille, France. “The word equipment was used once.”
DSK, as he’s known across France, and 13 others are charged with hiring prostitutes for orgies in a case known as the “Carlton Affair” for the name of the hotel in Lille where some of the sex parties took place. The sex scandal is one of two that derailed his once promising political career and made him a figure of global derision.
Strauss-Kahn argues that he never paid anyone and didn’t know the women at the parties were prostitutes. Judge Bernard Lemaire read out text messages between Strauss-Kahn and his friend Fabrice Paszkowski, a local businessman, to determine their conduct.
Meet new people
Deputy Public Prosecutor Aline Clerot said the evidence indicates Paszkowski was an “organizer and recruiter” of prostitutes acting at the behest of Strauss-Kahn.
Paszkowski said he has consistently rejected the prosecutor’s allegations since he was first arrested in 2011. If he sought to bring new women it’s because “in libertine circles we always want to meet new people,” he said. Paszkowski said he hid from Strauss-Kahn that some of them were prostitutes.
Paszkowski said that Strauss-Kahn, once a favorite for the French presidency, was in great demand and seen as “the gift of the party.”
Strauss-Kahn said “it makes no sense” to consider he was the “instigator” as Paszkowski proposed the orgies. “I never asked him to organize the parties.”
He testified for a third day as he seeks to repair a reputation that has been battered by sex scandals on two continents. Charges of sexual assault in a New York hotel room, that were eventually dropped, led to his resignation from the IMF. A post-IMF business venture ended in bankruptcy after his partner died in an apparent suicide, and Luxembourg is looking into the group’s collapse.
The Frenchman faces as many as 10 years in prison and as much as 1.5 million-euro fine ($1.7 million) if convicted.
Strauss-Kahn also had to answer questions about a Paris apartment he rented under another man’s name.
He said he needed a place to meet discreetly with political friends and also to rendezvous with his sexual conquests.
“I was a married politician,” DSK said. “I didn’t want the lease to be under my name.”