New claims of sex crimes hit Strauss-Kahn

Steve Dinneen
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Dominique Strauss-Kahn cut a grim figure as he stood before a New York court, and the world’s TV cameras, to deny charges of sexual assault and attempted rape of a New York hotel maid.

Dressed in a black jacket, the 62-year-old remained silent as he was denied bail by the US judge. He was deemed a flight risk, despite his wife offering to put up $1m (£617,000) in bail money. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman – who has represented Michael Jackson – argued that Strauss-Kahn is “the most easily identifiable individual in the world today,” adding “there is no indication, nothing, that he intends to flee.”

Across the Atlantic in Paris, a second woman accused the embattled IMF chief of attempted rape, relating to an incident nearly a decade ago. Tristane Banon, the 31-year-old god-daughter of Strauss-Kahn’s ex-wife Brigitte Guillemette, said she was attacked after being granted an interview with the politician when she was a young journalist.

Strauss-Kahn will now remain in custody until he faces the jury that could lock him up for 25 years.

Prosecution lawyers argued that the unnamed maid provided a “very powerful and detailed account” of the alleged attack. They also claimed forensic evidence corroborated her story. Details were not provided but it is known Strauss-Kahn underwent medical tests while under police custody.

He faces seven charges relating to the alleged incident.

The maid says Strauss-Kahn carried out a “brutal” sex attack when she entered his £1,900-a-night hotel suite. When she let herself into the room she says Strauss-Kahn ran naked towards her and sexually assaulted her before dragging her into the bathroom, where he attempted to rape her. She says he attempted to lock her in the room as he fled the hotel.

Lawyers in France have questioned the chain of events, claiming Strauss-Kahn had left the hotel an hour earlier to meet his daughter for lunch. They said he then called the hotel when he realised he had forgotten his mobile phone.

In a bizarre twist, just weeks earlier the IMF boss gave an interview to a French newspaper, where he hinted he may be the victim of a “honey-trap” in which his political enemies might bribe a woman to say she was raped.

He also said the three main challenges he faced were “money, women and my Jewishness.”