Two weeks ago, when former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn first arrived in a Lille courtroom to face allegations of "aggravating pimping," the focus squared on his absurd-sounding defense: "I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman," one of his lawyers had previously said.
As it turns out, the case's most salacious aspect—that Strauss-Kahn, in the midst of champagne-fueled orgies, was unable to tell a woman from a woman of the evening—is seemingly what has derailed the case.
On Monday, "five out of the six plaintiffs—four prostitutes and an association—dropped their accusations against Mr Strauss-Kahn," the BBC reported. "They abandoned their damages claims saying they had no proof that Mr Strauss-Kahn knew he was involved with prostitutes." On Tuesday, Frederic Fevre, the public prosecutor in the case, called for Strauss-Kahn's acquittal.
I demand his full acquittal. Let’s make no mistake: no charges for sexual violence have been brought. We shouldn’t let moral elements seep into this legal debate.
The case against Strauss-Kahn contained its challenges from the start. The crime of "aggravated pimping" is complicated by the fact that prostitution itself is not illegal in France. This means the onus then fell on the prosecution to provide evidence that Strauss-Kahn knew the women at the orgies he attended were prostitutes or that he abused his power to procure them.
In the coming days, a judge will ultimately determine what Strauss-Kahn knew or did not, but many are predicting that he will be acquitted.