Former IMF Boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn Acquitted in Pimping Trial

Dominique Strauss-Kahn - 2011- h

A French court clears the one-time French presidential hopeful and subject of the film 'Welcome to New York' of "aggravated pimping" in connection to sex parties.

A French court has cleared Dominique Strauss-Kahn of charges of “aggravated pimping” connected to sex orgies he participated in while head of the International Monetary Fund.

The one-time French presidential hopeful fell from grace in May 2011 after a hotel maid in New York accused him of attempted rape. Criminal charges were later dropped and a civil action was settled out of court. The incident was the subject of Abel Ferrara's Welcome To New York, with Gerard Depardieu playing the the character modeled after him, Monsieur Devereaux.

While Strauss-Kahn was cleared of criminal charges, the testimony in the trial, much of it from young prostitutes who took part in the orgies, makes Ferrara's graphic depictions of Strauss-Kahn's sex life seem tame. 

The former IMF boss said he sought “recreation” from the stress of “saving the world from catastrophe” during the time of the U.S. sub-prime crisis by having rough sex with strangers.

The case began in 2011 with an investigation into an alleged prostitution network at the luxury Hotel Carlton in the French city of Lille. Strauss-Kahn was never involved in any alleged activity at the hotel, but sex workers interviewed in the course of the investigation mentioned his name, leading police to widen their inquiry.

During the trial, Strauss-Kahn maintained he had not known the women brought in for him by business friends for the group sex sessions were prostitutes, claiming he believed they were just “libertine” like himself.

The trial was marked by the tearful testimonies of two prostitutes who were among the woman flown to Paris, Brussels and Washington to have sex with Strauss-Kahn, and who described the parties as akin to “slaughter” and “butchery.” The former IMF boss told the trial that it was only during court hearings that he discovered he had “a sexuality that was rougher than the average man” but that he believed “no means no.”

The acquittal was expected after the prostitutes who testified admitted they did not inform Strauss-Kahn that they were being paid to attend the orgies. The court acquitted most of the men on trial with Strauss-Kahn, including a Lille police chief who attended the orgies and was said to have been hoping for a top national post if Strauss-Kahn were elected president of France.

Rene Kojfer, the former head of public relations at the Hotel Carlton in Lille, was given a one-year suspended sentence for pimping but the charges have no connection Strauss-Kahn.

At the time of the events covered in the trial, Strauss-Kahn was married to Anne Sinclair, an influential French journalist and feminist, played by Jacqueline Bisset in Ferrara's fictionalized version of the tale. She has since divorced him.