6 Jun 2011

Strauss-Kahn to claim ‘attack’ on maid was consensual

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is booed by crowds of onlookers, including hotel workers, as he arrives at court to deny sexually assaulting a maid.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault of a maid in a New York hotel.

The 62-year-old faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of charges including attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

The former favourite for the French presidency was booed by a crowd of onlookers as he arrived at court in New York, arm-in-arm with his wife, the French TV journalist Anne Sinclair.

A group of hotel workers had gathered at the court in solidarity with the alleged victum, an African immigrant. Peter Ward, president of Local 6 of the New York Hotel Workers Union, said: “She’s our sister and we support her.”

Strauss-Kahn entered a plea of not guilty and is due to return to New York Supreme Court for a hearing before Judge Michael Obus on 18 July.

The father-of-four spent four days in New York’s Rikers Island jail before he was released on $1 million bail and placed under house arrest.

He is now living in a luxurious townhouse in Manhattan’s TriBeCa district. A prosecutor has estimated that the security arrangements alone would cost $200,000 a month.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer has said that although his client has a net worth of roughly $2 million, his heiress wife is happy to bankroll him while he is on bail.

The banker resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund a few days after he was arrested on 14 May in the first-class section of an Air France plane that was about to leave New York for Paris.


He was accused of attacking the maid, described as a 32-year-old single mother, hours earlier when she came to clean his suite at the luxury Sofitel hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman told reporters his defence is likely to be that any sexual contact with the woman was consensual, saying: “When the evidence is in, it will be clear there was no forcible compulsion.”

The maid’s lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, said: “All of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s power, money and influence will not stop the truth of what he did to her in that hotel room from coming out. She is going to come into this courthouse, get into that witness stand and tell the world what he did to her.”

Before his arrest, Strauss-Kahn had been widely expected to stand for nomination as the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate. He had been a strong favorite to beat Nicolas Sarkozy at the polls next year.