Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Judge Denies Bail To IMF Chief In Sex Assault Case
NEW YORK — IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was denied bail on Monday on attempted rape and other criminal charges, and prosecutors said they are investigating whether he may have engaged in similar conduct once before.
Defense lawyers, who sought unsuccessfully for Strauss-Kahn to be released on $1 million bail, denied the charges against their client, once seen as a strong contender for French presidential elections next year.
One of the defense attorneys, Ben Brafman, said it was "quite likely he will be exonerated."
Strauss Kahn made his first appearance in court to face charges of trying to rape a Manhattan hotel maid in a case that has altered France's political landscape and left the IMF in turmoil.
Prosecutors asked that Strauss-Kahn be remanded in custody due to concerns he might flee to France if released.
The judge set May 20 as the next date for the case.
A defense lawyer said Strauss Kahn did not flee the hotel and the person he was having lunch with on Saturday, the day of the incident, will testify on his behalf.
Looking tired and grim-faced, Strauss-Kahn met with his lawyers in a back room of the Manhattan Criminal Court before he entered the courtroom. His hair was disheveled and he appeared to be wearing the same clothes he wore on Sunday.
Strauss-Kahn was not handcuffed when he was escorted to the booking station at the court.
His lawyers said he would plead not guilty to charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment that could bring a humiliating end to his public career and political ambitions.
"Our client willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination ...," said William Taylor, the IMF chief's Washington-based lawyer. "He's tired but he's fine."
Any restriction the judge places on Strauss-Kahn's freedom of movement after Monday's arraignment hearing may determine whether he is able to continue in his globe-trotting role as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
His arrest on Saturday plunged the Washington-based global lender into disarray in the midst of the euro zone's debt crisis and threw France's presidential race wide open. The IMF board postponed an informal meeting pending further information from New York.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Strauss-Kahn had been due to meet on Sunday, said that finding a successor for the Frenchman was "not a question for today," but there were good grounds to have a European candidate ready.
European sources said French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde had been picking up support before the Strauss-Kahn news broke. Former Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis is considered a favorite among the non-European possibilities.
More allegations involving Strauss-Kahn surfaced in Paris, where a lawyer said a woman writer was considering filing a legal complaint against the IMF chief over an alleged sexual incident dating back to 2002.
Strauss-Kahn, the Socialist early favorite in the 2012 presidential race, had his hands manacled behind his back and looked strained on Sunday as detectives led him to a waiting police sedan in front of a battery of television cameras.
A police spokesman said the 32-year-old chambermaid at the Times Square Sofitel had identified Strauss-Kahn on Sunday from a police lineup that included five other men.