French judges keep Strauss-Kahn pimping charges
French judges keep Strauss-Kahn pimping charges
French judges decided Wednesday not to drop pimping charges against the former International Monetary Fund chief, according to his lawyers, who had sought to have the case thrown out. They quickly vowed to appeal.
Strauss-Kahn, 63, is fresh off a legal settlement reached in the US last week with Nafissatou Diallo, the New York hotel maid who had accused him of rape in May 2011. That accusation torpedoed his once-illustrious political career, and was followed by other allegations of sex-related wrongdoing.
None has led to a conviction. The only case remaining is the investigation into Strauss-Kahn’s suspected role in a hotel prostitution ring in the northern French city of Lille.
An appeals court in nearby Douai on Wednesday maintained preliminary charges filed against Strauss-Kahn in March for “aggravated procurement in an organized gang” — meaning the probe can continue. He is one of several defendants in the case, which allegedly involves prominent city figures and police.
Strauss-Kahn, a one-time French presidential hopeful, resigned from his IMF job and saw his international reputation collapse and his sexual proclivities aired in public after the claims by Diallo.
Strauss-Kahn lawyer Henri Leclerc lashed out Wednesday at the investigating judges leading the Lille case. In a statement, he claimed the charges against Strauss-Kahn were not specified, that some evidence was hidden from the defense, that facts were twisted and that the definition of “pimping” was created with no basis in law.
Outside the Douai courthouse, Frederique Baulieu, another defense lawyer, told reporters: “We are certain that Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be cleared of all charges against him.”
The case against Strauss-Kahn hinges on whether he knew he was partying with prostitutes and whose money was used to pay them. His lawyers have said Strauss-Kahn had attended “libertine” gatherings but didn’t know that some women there were paid.
In France, it is not against the law to pay for sex, but is against the law to solicit or to run a prostitution business. Two men with ties to Strauss-Kahn are behind bars in the probe, accused of organizing parties involving prostitutes.
Prostitutes questioned in the case said they had sex with Strauss-Kahn during 2010 and 2011 at a luxury hotel in Paris, at a restaurant in the French capital and also in Washington, where he lived while working for the Washington-based IMF, judicial officials have said.
Under French law, preliminary charges mean authorities have reason to believe that a crime was committed but allow more time for investigation.
New York prosecutors dropped their sex assault case against Strauss-Kahn in August last year, saying they had doubts about the hotel maid’s trustworthiness. The settlement last week came as part of a civil case.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, which Diallo did.
A French writer also claimed that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003 but French prosecutors threw out her case because it happened too long ago.
Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries
BESSEMER CITY, US: A man intentionally rammed a vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with a lunchtime crowd Sunday, killing his daughter and another person and injuring several others, authorities said Sunday.
Bessemer City Police said in a statement that preliminary evidence indicates the man purposely drove into the Surf and Turf Lodge about noon Sunday. Footage from the scene showed emergency crews treating people on the ground outside the restaurant as shocked patrons milled about afterward. Killed was 26-year-old Katelyn Tyler Self, the daughter of the driver and a Gaston County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Authorities haven’t released the name of the second person who died.
Police said the driver, Roger Self, was arrested after the car had smashed its way fully inside into the restaurant in Bessemer City, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Charlotte. Authorities did not immediately make clear what charges Self faces though authorities said they were opening a homicide investigation.
The Gaston Gazette identified Roger Self as a businessman from Dallas, North Carolina.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman Rob Tufano called the crash a “mass casualty” incident, and reports said some of the victims were flown by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center. There was no immediate report on the number of injured people or the severity of their injuries.
“He drove his car into the building, killing people, so that’s why we took him into custody immediately,” Bessemer City Police Chief Thomas Ellis Jr. said.
Photographs taken at the scene showed a shattered opening in a restaurant wall, where the car had smashed inside the building.
The Gaston Gazette reported that wait staff said Self had initially taken his family into the restaurant and had them seated. He then went back out to his vehicle and drove at a high rate of speed into the area where they were sitting, they said. The newspaper identified the vehicle as a sports utility vehicle.
Katelyn Self was a four-year veteran of the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Alan Cloninger told The Charlotte Observer. She worked as a corporal in the jail and was off duty when she was killed.
Cloninger choked up as he spoke about the crash.
“We’re suffering a little bit right now,” he said.
A 2017 profile in the Gazette said Roger Self ran a private investigations business called Southeastern Loss Management. It said the business opened in 1989 and mostly helped companies investigate employees’ wrongdoing.