DSK reeling as author files new rape claim in France
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's hopes of entering the French presidential race appeared to be over last night after a novelist who described him as a "rutting chimpanzee" said she would make a criminal complaint of attempted rape.
Tristane Banon, a 32-year-old journalist and writer, announced she would file for charges over an alleged attack in a Paris apartment in 2003, during which she claimed Mr Strauss-Kahn tried to unhook her bra and open her jeans.
Her lawyer, David Koubbi, said the complaint would reach the Paris prosecutor's office by tomorrow.
The announcement comes as the sexual assault case brought by an American hotel chambermaid against the former head of the International Monetary Fund is close to collapse.
Mr Strauss-Kahn was freed from his strict bail terms by a New York court on Friday amid doubts over the alleged victim's credibility.
That had raised hopes among his supporters that the 62-year-old would make a triumphant return to French politics if acquitted in the US, perhaps even running for president next year for the opposition Socialists. However, the latest development appeared to make that extremely unlikely.
In an interview published yesterday, Ms Banon said she had decided to file her complaint after feeling "sick" watching Mr Strauss-Kahn freed without bail last week and dining in a New York restaurant.
She also recounted details of the alleged attempted rape, which she claims took place in February 2003 when she went to interview Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, in an apartment.
"When I entered that flat, I immediately felt ill at ease," she told 'l'Express' magazine.
"We started talking a bit, he offered me a coffee, I got out my Dictaphone, he wanted us to go on the couch, then that I hold his hand to reply -- 'Otherwise I won't manage,' he said.
"I wanted to leave. He stopped the Dictaphone, caught me by the arm. I asked him to let me go, and that's when the fight started."
Ms Banon has previously given a graphic account of the alleged attack in a 2007 television programme, currently posted on the internet, in which she said Mr Strauss-Kahn acted like a "rutting chimpanzee". She said that she was dissuaded from filing charges at the time by her mother, a regional councillor in Mr Strauss-Kahn's Socialist party.
Ms Banon's lawyer David Koubbi said last night that her complaint fell within the 10-year limitation period for attempted rape charges.
Shortly after Mr Strauss-Kahn's arrest in New York, Mr Koubbi said she was considering pressing charges but then appeared to withdraw.
Yesterday he insisted that her decision to file for charges now would not dent his client's credibility nor make her look opportunistic.
"What is happening in the US doesn't concern us, I repeat. If the case against Mr Strauss-Kahn is empty, ours isn't. It is extremely solid and thorough."
Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers responded to the latest allegations by saying he intended to sue Ms Banon for "slanderous denunciation", adding that the alleged events she related were "imaginary". (© Daily Telegraph, London)