Monday, May 16, 2011

STRAUSS KAHN did not flee, maid worked 3 years at hotel

photo of his court appearance, unshaven, tired.

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Strauss-Kahn did not flee his hotel after the alleged assault but was rushing to a lunch appointment with a witness who will testify to that affect

16 may 2011 1633 GMT: The judge has denied Dominique Strauss-Kahn bail and ordered the IMF chief to be detained, two days after he was pulled off a plane and accused of trying to rape a Manhattan hotel chambermaid

Judge Melissa Jackson said he should be remanded because he was "a flight risk."

defence lawyer Ben Brafman said it was "quite likely he will be exonerated". Earlier they said Strauss-Kahn had agreed to undergo scientific and forensic tests and intends to "vigorously" defend himself.

The prosecution on Monday compared Strauss-Kahn to Roman Polanski, the film director who fled the US in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage girl. Prosecutors said they were investigating an additional incident, without specifying what it related to, and that they were waiting for the forensic information from the hotel.

The defence offered $1m (£618,000) bail and said the IMF chief was prepared to reside with his daughter in Manhattan and wear an electronic bracelet. But the judge refused.

Strauss-Kahn appeared tired, impassive and dishevelled at the hearing, having waited for the court to deal with a string of more mundane cases involving three men accused of minor drugs offences.

He was charged with assaulting a

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32-year-old maid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.

Jorge Tito, the managing director of Sofitel New York, said he could not comment on the case.

"However, we want to stress that our employee has been working with Sofitel New York for three years and we have been completely satisfied with the quality of her work and behaviour."

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The 32-year-old hotel worker told police she entered Strauss-Kahn's room to clean it at around 1pm on Saturday. He allegedly emerged from the bathroom naked, ran after her and dragged her into a bedroom where he began sexually assaulting her on the bed.

According to the police account of the "brutal" attack, he locked the door to the suite, then dragged the maid down a hallway into a bathroom where he assaulted her again. The woman escaped from the room and was later treated in hospital for minor injuries. Police found Strauss-Kahn had left his room seemingly "in a hurry", leaving behind personal items including his phone.

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IMF chief faces 20 years' jail over alleged assault

Date: May 17 2011

Simon Mann

WASHINGTON: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French head of the International Monetary Fund, was due to appear in a New York court yesterday to face charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in Manhattan at the weekend.

His appearance had been delayed by 24 hours as prosecutors sought additional evidence and so that he could submit to a forensic medical examination.

Investigators have been gathering possible DNA evidence from his skin and from beneath his fingernails as a means of supporting allegations of the attack.

They were hunting for ''the classic things you get in association with a sex assault'', a police official told The New York Times.

Earlier Mr Strauss-Kahn was identified by the maid, 32, in a police line-up at the New York Police Department Special Victims Unit in Harlem, where Mr Strauss-Kahn had been held since being hauled off a Paris-bound Air France aircraft late on Saturday afternoon.

The IMF managing director, touted as a likely Socialist Party contender in the French presidential election next year, denies attacking and trying to rape the maid at the five-star Sofitel Hotel on West 44th Street, near Times Square, about 1pm on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters outside Manhattan Criminal Court late on Sunday evening, William Taylor, a lawyer, said Mr Strauss-Kahn had ''willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination''.

''At the request of the government, and in light of the hour, we have agreed to postpone the arraignment until [Monday] morning.''

Asked about his client's well-being, Mr Taylor responded: ''He's tired but he's fine.''

A top New York defence lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, who is also working on the case, reiterated that Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, ''intends to vigorously defend these charges and denies any wrongdoing''.

The career of one of the world's most prominent financiers was hanging in the balance as further details emerged of the sequence of events on Saturday that led to his arrest.

Police said the maid had immediately alerted hotel security to the alleged assault on Saturday but before police could arrive Mr Strauss-Kahn had fled, leaving behind his mobile phone and some personal items.

While they were interviewing staff, Mr Strauss-Kahn apparently phoned the hotel to report his phone missing, advising them that he was at John F. Kennedy International Airport preparing to board the 4.40pm flight to Paris.

Detectives boarded the plane moments before its scheduled departure and took Mr Strauss-Kahn, who was in the first-class cabin, into custody.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who had been heading to Europe for critical meetings with finance ministers over a multibillion-euro bailout for Portugal and Greece's deteriorating debt position, was charged at 2.15am Sunday with a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and an unlawful imprisonment.

The IMF boss, who is paid about $US420,000 ($398,000) a year tax-free, is alleged to have tried to force the maid to have oral sex in his $US3000-a-night suite after she apparently entered thinking it was empty.

According to the police account, the maid apologised and tried to leave but Mr Strauss-Kahn, who had appeared naked from a bathroom, allegedly attacked her, dragging her into another room where, he forced himself upon her. He is also alleged to have tried to lock her in a room.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's third wife, the French TV personality and millionaire art heiress Anne Sinclair, was at the couple's Paris apartment at the time of the alleged assault. She told reporters: ''I do not believe for a single second the accusations levelled against my husband. I do not doubt his innocence will be established. I appeal for restraint and decency.''

The identity of the maid was not disclosed. But a spokesman for the Sofitel's owner, the Accor Group, said she had worked at the hotel for three years ''and was completely satisfactory in terms of her work and behaviour''.

The New York Times reported that she lived in the Bronx, where she had moved into an apartment with a teenage daughter a few months ago. ''They're good people,'' the paper quoted a neighbour as saying. ''Every time I see her I'm happy because we're both from Africa. She's never given a problem for nobody. Never noisy. Everything nice.''

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who has no diplomatic immunity, faces up to 20 years' jail if convicted. He was expected to seek bail yesterday.

The IMF moved to quell concerns about the Washington-based organisation's continuing role in the rescue of the global economy by appointing its No. 2 executive, John Lipsky, as acting chief.

The former US Treasury official and investment banker, who had previously said that he would leave the IMF at the end of August, chaired an informal session of the fund's board on Sunday afternoon in Washington.

A spokesman said his appointment was ''in line with standard IMF procedures''.

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Marine Le Pen, head of France's far-right National Front party, said on Sunday that sexual assault charges against IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn had crushed his hopes of running in a 2012 presidential election.

"The case and the charges ... mark the end of his campaign and pre-campaign for the presidency and will most likely prompt the IMF to ask him to leave his post," Le Pen told i-Tele television.

A lawyer representing Strauss-Kahn, Benjamin Brafman, told Reuters in an email that the IMF chief would plead not guilty.

One of Strauss-Kahn's French-based lawyers, Leon Lef Forster, told Reuters: "We must wait until things settle and see if it's true or a provocation. We must be especially careful not to get into a media circus and we must wait until things are clear."

Le Pen, who took over the National Front leadership from her father Jean-Marie in January, has been ranked in second place to Strauss-Kahn in recent polls, which indicated she could knock out Sarkozy in a first-round vote and go on to a runoff against the IMF chief.

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