Because the French do not believe in free speech, former Dior designer John Galliano is on trial today in Paris for saying horrible things about the Jews, and proclaiming, "I love Hitler." If the couple who Galliano insulted at a French cafe in February can prove that Galliano made the statements "publicly"--if other restaurant goers, in other words, heard Galliano make Jew jokes--the designer could spend up to six months behind bars.
The Associated Press has more:
The outspoken British designer emerged Wednesday for the one-day trial after spending months staying out of the public eye. In a conservative look for him, Galliano was dressed in black with a polka dot neckerchief, sporting a pencil mustache and long hair.
Galliano is charged with "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" and could face up to six months in prison and euro22,500 ($32,175) in fines. The verdict is expected at a later date.
The famed designer was escorted to a front-row seat in the wood-paneled, gilded courtroom at the Justice Palace, sitting next to an interpreter as he faced the three judges presiding over his fate.
Journalists, including fashion writers, packed the wooden benches in the courtroom, which features a high ceiling painted with a woman holding the scales of justice. Television cameras were not allowed in the courtroom but trail the designer as he went inside.
His lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle told The Associated Press this week that the designer's comments were "misplaced and hurtful" but attributed them to Galliano's addition to alcohol and prescription drugs.
Galliano issued a statement at the time saying: "Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologize for my behavior in causing any offense." He also said he was "seeking help" for personal failures, spending two months in rehab in the United States.
The lawyer said he will call witnesses at the cafe during both incidents who say they did not hear any insults by Galliano.
Any conviction could depend on whether the court determines that the insults were made publicly or not. French law prohibits public insults toward others because of their origins, race or religion.
Earlier today, Sky News tweeted, "John Galliano admits to drink and drug addiction at anti-semitism trial in Paris." Dior fired Galliano in February.