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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » May 14, 2008
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Sex Scandal Trial Opens
May 14, 2008   
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The trial of what has been dubbed the "Samoobrona Sex Scandal" opened in a court in Piotrków Trybunalski in central Poland May 6. Andrzej Lepper, chairman of the Samoobrona party and Stanisław Łyżwiński, the party's former deputy chairman, stand accused of soliciting and accepting sexual favors from female party workers. Lepper was deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture in the previous Law and Justice (PiS), Samoobrona and League of Polish Families (LPR) coalition government.

The trial is being conducted in camera to protect "important personal interests" of the five alleged victims. This decision was made following requests from the prosecutor's office and Aneta Krawczyk's attorney. Krawczyk (pictured below), a former Samoobrona worker, is the chief prosecution witness. But the defendants and their lawyers have objected to the decision, arguing that the media have already revealed intimate details of the highly controversial affair.

The two Samoobrona leaders were charged following a deposition by Krawczyk in which she testified that Lepper had taken advantage of her sexually in return for hiring her at his deputy's office. Another charge concerns an attempt to solicit sex from the head of Samoobrona's youth wing in Lublin. The affair unleashed a national uproar when it was leaked to the media in December 2006.

Lepper faces up to eight years in prison if convicted and Łyżwiński up to ten. Łyżwiński has been charged with seven offenses including rape, sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of four women and inciting one of them, Krawczyk, to have an abortion. Łyżwiński has been held in detention since Aug. 23 last year while Lepper is free pending trial.

The two defendants will probably attack Krawczyk's credibility as a witness. Krawczyk has previously claimed that Łyżwiński fathered her youngest child and has demanded child support from him. DNA tests have proved her wrong and the identity of her five-year-old daughter's father remains unknown.

"I am convinced I will prove my innocence," Lepper said. "I believe in the objectivity of the court."
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