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2011 June 22

The Latest from the Galliano Trial

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(NEW YORK) John Galliano has completed his one day, high-profile trial facing off with his two accusers— Philippe Virgitti and girlfriend Geraldine Bloch, at the French court, where both parties are seeking financial compensation for alleged anti-Semitic slurs from the designer at La Perle on February 24, 2011. As the case got under way, writers in France frantically submitted minute-by-minute reporting. “Galliano has just walked slowly into court, looking lost in thought in what looks like a black leather pantaloons, and black jacket, and a black polka dot neck scarf,” wrote The Telegraph’s Henry Samuel, on location. @cpassariello, a Wall Street Journal reporter tweeted about the audience: Snickering in the #Galliano audience as judge reads Galliano's anti-Semitic comments in English and translates into French. @GQfashion tweeted about the atmosphere: Outside someone is playing "Crazy" very loud. CNN's Saskya Vandoorne, @SaskyaCNN, tweeted about the insider statements: Plaintiff #galliano trial "It was just an argument in a bar, he said things he shouldnt have but it has been overly played out in the media."

According to his lawyer, Aurélien Hamelle, Galliano’s two-year addiction to sleeping pills, alcohol and valium are to blame for his behavior. “Some things may have come out of his mouth that didn’t come from his brain,” said Hamelle. Today, Galliano publically admitted those addictions for the first time. “After every creative high, I would crash and the alcohol helped me,” he confessed. The pressure only increased with time. “At the time of the financial crash, I have two children,” he added. “One was Dior, the other was Galliano.”

Galliano told the courtroom that he’d checked into an Arizona treatment facility directly after his arrest and had been receiving further treatment from a Swiss clinic for two months. After the prosecution aired a 41 second clip of Galliano drunkenly spewing pro-Hitler remarks during a separate incident, the 50-year-old unemployed designer said, "...I have no recollection of any of these events.”

Shortly after the alleged February 24 event, an intoxicated Galliano was arrested, given a sobriety test, and released. Just four days later on February 28, Dior suspended Galliano following the release of the aforementioned viral video by French radio Europe 1. Karl Lagerfeld, Daphne Guinness, and Natalie Portman were just a few of the notables that spoke out against the designer while Patricia Field, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Roberto Cavalli, among others, expressed disbelief at the accusations. March 1 marked a historical day as LVMH sacked Dior's creative director. Sidney Toledano, Dior's CEO, addressed the LVMH decision prior to the Fall 2011 runway show at Paris Fashion Week. “What has happened over the last week has been a terrible and wrenching ordeal for us all. It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be," said Toledano. The board at the helm of John Galliano followed suit, quickly ousting its namesake designer.

During the closing arguments, one of the civil plaintiff lawyers is reported to have stated, “I’ve changed my mind about Galliano. I see a lost soul.” As for the fate of the designer? The verdict is under wraps until September 8, but if convicted, Galliano could face up to six months in jail and a $32,400 fine.

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