John Galliano, the British fashion designer currently on trial accused of anti-Semitic slurs, told the court he is a "recovering addict" and could not remember the incidents in question, reports the Associated Press. John Galliano's trial focuses on two alleged incidents in October and February. A video of a third incident led to the designer losing his job at Dior.
Dressed in black, the designer was taken into court today via a back entrance and made no comments to waiting reporters. He is charged with "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" and if convicted could face six months in jail and a fine of around $40,000. As the trial began, Galliano told the judge, "I have an addiction. I'm a recovering alcoholic, a recovering addict". He later said alcohol had helped him to escape the "crash" he experienced "after every creative high". The defence lawyer Aurelian Hamelle said the designer wanted to "present his excuses to the people he offended", and that his "pathological state" with alcohol could be proved by medical testimony. The former Dior creative director was arrested in March 2011 after a couple accused him of making anti-Semitic remarks. Museum curator Geraldine Bloch is suing Galliano over what she described as tirade of abuse that lasted around 45 minutes.
All of the incidents are alleged to have taken place at the La Perle cafe in the Marais district of Paris. Footage filmed on a camera phone is reportedly being used as evidence during the trial.