Tuesday 6 December 2016

Strauss-Kahn to admit sexual contact, but with consent

Jon Swaine in New York

Published 18/05/2011 | 05:00

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, New York, for the alleged attack on a maid at a hotel near Times Square
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, New York, for the alleged attack on a maid at a hotel near Times Square

Dominique Strauss-Kahn will admit he had sexual contact with the hotel chambermaid who alleges he attacked her, but insist it was consensual, his lawyers have indicated.

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The International Monetary Fund managing director allegedly locked the maid in his suite at Manhattan's Sofitel hotel on Saturday and forced her to give him oral sex. He was denied $1m bail and is being held at Rikers Island jail.

In a hint at what may become his main line of defence, Mr Strauss-Kahn's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said at New York criminal court: "The evidence, we believe, will not be consistent with a forcible encounter".

It came as prosecutors, who claim a medical examination of the maid "corroborates her accounts", were alleged to have discovered blood in the hotel room. The brother of the woman, a 32 year-old from west Africa with at least one daughter, said she had phoned him to say "somebody did something really bad to me" after the alleged incident.

The developments offered clues to how lawyers for the prosecution and defence planned to approach the case, starting with its next hearing due on Friday.

Reports from France that Mr Strauss-Kahn (62) would claim to have been having lunch with his 26-year-old daughter, Camille, at the time of the alleged attack, have not been backed up by his lawyers. Mr Brafman, who successfully defended Michael Jackson against allegations of child abuse in 2004, said only that Mr Strauss-Kahn's lunch date was "the reason he was rushing" to leave the Sofitel.

The timeline of Saturday afternoon that was originally given by the New York police has also abruptly been changed, with potentially important implications for Mr Strauss-Kahn's trial.

Maid

While the maid was said to have arrived to clean room 2805-06 at 1.30pm, the criminal complaint against Mr Strauss-Kahn says the alleged attack took place at 12pm. Mr Strauss-Kahn is then said to have vacated the room at 12.28pm and left the hotel at about 12.45pm, before meeting someone, reportedly his daughter, for lunch.

He then took a car to JFK Airport, and called the Sofitel to say he had left a mobile phone behind. Police first said this showed he "left in a hurry", but it is now unclear if he had left a phone.

By then police officers were at the hotel, responding to a 911 call. They coached hotel staff to tell Mr Strauss-Kahn they did have the phone. "Where are you? We'll get it to you," one reportedly asked. He replied he was arriving at the airport for a flight -- a move Mr Brafman said would be "inconsistent with logic" if his client was attempting to flee.

The comment triggered an alert to the Port Authority police, who removed Mr Strauss-Kahn from the first-class cabin of the Air France flight at 4.38pm.

Mr Brafman and William Taylor, Mr Strauss-Kahn's other lawyer, declined to confirm on Tuesday whether the IMF chief was admitting to having had sexual contact with the maid. Mr Strauss-Kahn has been forced by investigators to pose for naked pictures, in case he has telltale injuries, and to undergo a DNA test.

The criminal complaint against Mr Strauss-Kahn alleged that he "grabbed [the maid's] breasts without consent" and "forcibly grabbed" her crotch.

Meanwhile, in New York, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for the IMF Acting Managing Director John Lipsy, the Fund’s number two, to be recognised as the IMF interim head as Strauss-Kahn is he said, “obviously not in the position to run the IMF.”

© Daily Telegraph, London)

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