Galliano Trial Kicks Off Today in Paris; Defense Reportedly Will Stress Designer's Drug Problem

After months of media circus activity surrounding John Galliano, the designer today faces the charges of "public insult" brought upon him after two incidents in which he allegedly made anti-semetic and racist remarks—a criminal offense in France.

The trial, which is open to the public, will be heard before a panel of three judges, the Telegraph reports, and will consist of defense testimony based on Galliano's substance abuse problems.

According to the report, Galliano's lawyer, Aurelien Hemelle, said yesterday: "John Galliano was ill. He had a triple addiction to alcohol, benzodiazepine (Valium) and sleeping pills ... The combined effect of these drugs is a state of complete and utter abandon," adding that he popped the antidepressants "like candy" and that "when he was in that state he had no way of knowing or remembering what he said."

One of the three defendants, Geraldine Bloch, who, along with Philippe Virgitti allege that Galliano made the racist remarks outside a bar February 24, seeks only one "symbolic euro" -- her lawyer telling press outside the courtroom that "what we are after is an expression of regret and excuses for what has happened." Virgitti, on the other hand, seeks 220,000 euro in damages, according to France24 journalist Shona Bhattacharyya.

As the trial develops, the Telegraph is live-blogging the proceedings, and Bhattacharyya has taken to Twitter to stream updates from the courthouse.

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