Dominique Strauss-Kahn Charged With Pimping

The former IMF chief has been charged in connection with sex parties in the northern French city of Lille. Strauss-Kahn, who left the IMF in 2011 following allegations that he raped a maid in a New York City hotel, admits that he participated but says he did not know the women involved were prostitutes.

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A French court says former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will stand trial on charges of being part of an organized prostitution ring. The once-powerful French politician was considered a step away from the French presidency when he was accused of sexually assaulting a New York City hotel maid in May 2011. As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, his fall from grace isn't over yet.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: He may have escaped charges faced at the Sofitel in New York, says this news announcer, but Strauss Kahn will have to face a judge over what happened at the Carlton Hotel in Lille. She's talking about accusations that Strauss Kahn, along with other high-ranking businessmen and police officials, operated a prostitution ring out of the Carlton Hotel in the northern French town. The decision is a blow for Strauss Kahn who thought his legal woes were over. He settled the civil case with the New York hotel maid out of court earlier this year and appeared to be rebuilding his life. He was seen at Cannes with his new girlfriend and has begun giving economic speeches. Strauss-Kahn even gave an interview with CNN at the beginning of July.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED TV BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The problem with all the allegations about you, sir, is underneath them all there's an element of behavior that is not expected of men or women of high office.

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: I agree. So, I made this mistake to believe that you could have a public life, doing what you had to do in the public life, and that you could have a private life.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS RINGING)

BEARDSLEY: But France has wearied of Strauss-Kahn, and the latest news hardly registered on a nation deep into its summer vacation. Still, the DSK scandal, as it was known here, did have a profound effect on the country. It angered women especially, and began to change attitudes and a certain tolerance of sexual harassment and the bad behavior of powerful men. Hardly anyone thinks Strauss Kahn can make a political comeback, but his behavior can still spark an argument around this lunch table in the Burgundy village of Flavigny.

FABIEN DIDIER: (Foreign language spoken)

BEARDSLEY: Forty-year-old Fabien Didier says French justice is right to go after Strauss-Kahn.

DIDIER: Because he's a politician man and so he has to have good behavior in fact.

BEARDSLEY: French politicians, says Didier, no longer get a pass on their private lives. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News from Flavigny, France.

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