Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s reputation with women was well known in France, and not even an affair with a subordinate could knock the International Monetary Fund leader off a political path pointed in the direction of the French presidency.
All that changed over the weekend with charges that he sexually assaulted a maid in his hotel room, a case that generated shock and revulsion, especially in his home country.
Police said yesterday that the maid picked Strauss-Kahn out of a lineup after reporting the attack Saturday. Unless the charges are quickly dropped, they could destroy his chances in a presidential race in France that is just starting to heat up.
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said his client denies all the charges and will plead not guilty to a criminal sex act, attempted rape, and unlawful imprisonment. An arraignment expected last night was postponed until today. A second lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, William Taylor, said testing for evidence delayed the arraignment. “Our client willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination,’’ Taylor said.
The IMF, which plays a key role in efforts to control the European debt crisis, named an acting leader and said it remains “fully functioning and operational’’ despite Strauss-Kahn’s arrest. The organization’s deputy managing director, John Lipsky, was named acting managing director. Lipsky is a former US Treasury executive and former banker at JP Morgan. Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested less than four hours after the alleged assault Saturday, plucked from first class on a Paris-bound Air France flight that was just about to leave the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The thrice-married father of four was alone when he checked into the luxury Sofitel hotel, not far from Times Square, on Friday afternoon, police said. It was not clear why he was in New York. The IMF is based in Washington, and he had been due in Germany yesterday to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel about increasing aid to Greece, and then in Brussels today and tomorrow to see EU finance ministers. The 32-year-old maid told authorities that when she entered his $3,000-a-night suite early Saturday afternoon, she thought it was unoccupied. Instead, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway, and pulled her into a bedroom, where he sexually assaulted her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne said.
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