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25 January 2010: Galliano poses at the end of the Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2010 collection in Paris. Jacques Brinon/AP/Press Association Images

Galliano claims ‘triple addiction’ to blame for anti-Semitic rant

Former Dior designer John Galliano faces six months in prison and a fine of €22,500 if convicted of anti-Semitic remarks.

FASHION DESIGNER John Galliano has claimed he was struggling with addiction to alcohol, valium and sleeping pills at the time he is alleged to have made anti-Semitic remarks at a café in Paris.

The claim came on the first day of his trial in Paris over the remarks, which came shortly before Paris Fashion Week in February.

At the time, a policeman suggested the outburst was caused by stress ahead of fashion week.

Lawyers for Galliano today added that the designer was “obviously ill” at the time of the incident.

The release of the video – which also showed Galliano saying “I love Hitler” – prompted Dior to begin proceedings to fire Galliano, who was then the French fashion house’s creative designer.

In the footage, Galliano is seen gesturing to someone off-screen and saying:

People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f*****g gassed.

The controversy also prompted actress Natalie Portman, the face of Dior’s Miss Dior campaign, to issue a statement saying she would not be associated with  Galliano “in any way”.

French prosecutors subsequently brought charges of making “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” against Galliano. If found guilty, he could face six months in prison and a fine of up to €22,500. Galliano denies making any anti-Semitic comments.

His lawyer said he would attend today’s hearing.

- Additional reporting by Gavan Reilly and AP

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