PARIS — A Paris court is to rule Thursday on whether John Galliano is guilty or innocent of uttering racist and anti-Semitic insults at a Paris cafe, marking the last chapter of a spectacular fall from grace.
Presiding judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud is scheduled to deliver the verdict shortly after lunchtime, but Galliano will not be present at the hearing, according to his lawyer Aurélien Hamelle of law firm Metzner Associés.
The penalty in France for insulting someone on the basis of their origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity is six months in jail and a fine of 22,500 euros, or $32,000 at current exchange.
At Galliano’s trial on June 22, public prosecutor Anne de Fontette called for a fine of no less than 10,000 euros, or $14,100 at current exchange, while Hamelle argued for his client to be acquitted on the grounds that he was suffering from addictions to alcohol, sleeping pills and Valium at the time.
Galliano told the court he remembered nothing of the incidents, adding that his work was proof that he embraced every race, creed, religion and sexuality. “All my life I’ve fought against prejudice and intolerance and discrimination because I have been subjected to it myself,” he said, referring to his homosexuality.
Lawyers for plaintiffs Geraldine Bloch and Fatiha Oumeddour each demanded symbolic damages of one euro, or $1.41. The lawyer for Philippe Virgitti, a third plaintiff, filed for damages of 220,000 euros, or $310,900.