Maid to testify as pressure grows on Strauss-Kahn to quit

 
City A.M. Reporter
A hotel maid who says IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her will testify before a New York grand jury today while he has come under growing pressure to resign.

A lawyer for the 32-year-old African widow dismissed a suggestion by Strauss-Kahn's defence counsel that the incident at the luxury Times Square Sofitel last Saturday might not have been a sexual assault.

"There's nothing consensual about what took place in that hotel room," attorney Jeffrey Shapiro told NBC's "Today" show, adding he believed she would testify "at some point today".

The arrest dashed Strauss-Kahn's prospects for the French presidency and raised broader questions over the future of the International Monetary Fund. Developing countries, looking to a succession, have questioned Europe's hold on the post.

The US, the IMF's biggest shareholder, said Strauss-Kahn was clearly unable to go on running the global lender from a prison cell, whatever the legal outcome.

"I can't comment on the case, but he is obviously not in a position to run the IMF," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said yesterday, calling for an interim head to be named.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said Europe would naturally put forward a candidate to replace him if Strauss-Kahn decided to step down.

Germany, which wants a European to keep the job, said the IMF should deal with its immediate leadership internally and it was too early to discuss a successor to Strauss-Kahn.

French officials said John Lipsky, the IMF's American number two, whose term expires in August, would represent the Fund at next week's Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France.

China, Brazil and South Africa questioned Europe's right to the top job but Europeans said it made sense for them to retain the post while the Fund plays such a crucial role in helping to ease the euro zone debt crisis.

Strauss-Kahn, who denies the charges, is expected to remain in New York's Rikers Island jail, known for gang violence, at least until his next court appearance on Friday, when lawyers may again request bail. Any trial could be six months away.