Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, admitted 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.
Referencing a text message, the 65-year-old said on his third day of testimony in Lille, France. “The word equipment was used once.”
“Who do you have in your baggage?” he asked in another text, while in others he referred to a woman as “gifts”.
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.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Aline Clerot said the evidence indicates Paszkowski was an “organiser and recruiter” of prostitutes acting at the behest of Strauss-Kahn.
Paszkowski said he has consistently rejected the prosecutor’s claims 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.
Strauss-Kahn was also quizzed about the use of his “bachelor pad” for orgies, and why he hid the fact he had a secret apartment from investigating judges.
Prosecutors aimed to show the use of his private rented apartment in a chic Parisian neighbourhood to host the parties supported prostitution in the eyes of the law.
Strauss-Kahn said he needed somewhere discreet for his meetings. “I was married at the time,” he added and that was the reason the apartment was rented in the name of a friend.
He was testifying 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.
DSK faces as many as 10 years in prison and as much as €1.5m fine if convicted.