Strauss-Kahn was tipped to become French president before being accused of sexual assault by a New York hotel chambermaid in 2011. US criminal charges were subsequently dropped, and allegations he participated in a French sex ring centered in the northern French city of Lille emerged later.
“Did Dominique Strauss-Kahn pay prostitutes? The answer is no. Did he pimp prostitutes for others? The answer is no,” Lille prosecutor Frederic Fevre told the court before requesting Strauss-Kahn’s acquittal.
The prosecution’s demand highlighted the difficulty of a potential conviction of Strauss-Kahn, 65.
Investigating magistrates, who originally sent the case against Strauss-Kahn to trial over the objections of the same prosecutor, argued that the prominent Socialist was the instigator of parties involving prostitutes from 2008 to 2011 in Lille, Brussels, Paris, and Washington.
Under French law, investigating magistrates have the right to overrule prosecutors’ initial recommendations to drop a case.
The charge of pimpingwas justified, magistrates said, because Strauss-Kahn took a principal role in planning the parties, and knew the women were prostitutes.
However, during the three-week trial, the star defendant consistently maintained he had no idea the women at the parties were prostitutes, and that he had not organised the parties.
“Everyone is free to live out their sexuality how they wish,” Fevre said. “Neither the prosecutor nor the judge can set himself up as the guardian of moral order.”
Thirteen other defendants are similarly being judged for their role in the alleged sex ring that Strauss-Kahn says was simply a group of like-minded swingers.
Fevre said Strauss-Kahn was “troubled by the recurring mention of [his] sexual practices”, which he said was not the case for his co-defendants.
On Monday, lawyers for the four prostitutes who participated in the parties said they were giving up their claim of damages from Strauss-Kahn, citing insufficient evidence to prove the pimping charge.
Strauss-Kahn risks a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine of up to €1.5m.