Former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose presidential hopes were torpedoed by a sex scandal, will Tuesday try to convince judges he was not at the core of a prostitution ring as he takes the stand in his “aggravated pimping” trial.
Topless Femen activists jumped on the roof of Strauss-Kahn`s car as the 65-year-old arrived at the austere courthouse in the northern French city of Lille, one of them with “pimps, clients, guilty” scrawled across her chest.
The presence of the silver-haired economist, the most high-profile of the 14 accused in the three-week trial, also drew crowds of journalists and curious onlookers to the court.
Strauss-Kahn will have three days to fend off accusations that he organised for prostitutes to attend sex parties with him in Paris, Brussels and Washington in the case which could land him in prison for up to 10 years.
He will come face-to-face with two of these women, now retired sex workers, during questioning.
The former finance minister, known as DSK in France, is expected to argue he is merely a libertine who engaged in orgies with consenting adults and did not know the women lavishing their attention on him were prostitutes.
Until Tuesday, Strauss-Kahn had attended only the first day of the trial but his name has only been mentioned in passing by the judge, as French court rules forbid defendants from mentioning anyone not in the room.
An ex-prostitute, Mounia, said Monday she was specifically chosen for DSK by one of the businessmen who threw parties for him.
“The sexual relation that you were to have was with Dominique Strauss-Kahn?” asked Bernard Lemaire, the chief of the four judges overseeing the three-week jury-less trial.
“Yes,” said Mounia, adding that the businessman, David Roquet, “told me he came to see if I would please this man”.
Mounia and another prostitute, known as “Jade”, are expected to testify that Strauss-Kahn would have been “naive” to have not realised they were professionals.The trial is the latest in a series of cases offering a peek behind the bedroom door of a man once tipped as a potential challenger to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.