Strauss-Kahn cleared to discuss French court case
A French appeals court on Wednesday lifted a ban that prevented former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn from talking to the media about an investigation of a suspected prostitution ring run out of a luxury hotel in the northern city of Lille.
Strauss-Kahn, 63, is one of several public figures accused of being associated with the suspected prostitution ring at the Carlton hotel. Other suspects include prominent city officials and police.
In its ruling Wednesday, the court in Douai, which is handling the probe, said Strauss-Kahn can discuss the case with the media, but remains banned from contacting witnesses in it.
Strauss-Kahn is under investigation for alleged aggravated pimping in an organized group, a charge he has denied. He has acknowledged being involved in "libertine" activity at the hotel, but said he was unaware that anyone was being paid for sex.
Henri Leclerc, one of Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, said the ban on his client talking to the media had been an illegal measure, "useless, vexing and not in conformity with the law." He said the judicial control that includes not being in contact with witnesses is revelatory of the tenaciousness with which his client is being pursued by judicial officials. Strauss-Kahn's attorneys have claimed that there is an effort, including in the media, to demolish their client.
The prominent economist who once was billed as a likely presidential candidate, but his fortunes have unraveled starting with accusations of sexual assault by a New York hotel maid a year ago. New York prosecutors have dropped criminal charges in the case. However, a civil suit still dogs Strauss-Kahn.
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