IMF chief deemed flight risk, his lawyers dispute evidence
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, was ordered held without bail yesterday in the alleged sexual assault of a midtown hotel maid on Saturday.
Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman argued that the sex was “not consistent with a forcible encounter ... there is a very defensible case and he should be entitled to bail.” He asked for a $1 million bond, but Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Melissa C. Jackson deemed the 62-year-old frontrunner for the French presidency a flight risk and ordered him jailed. A hearing was set for Friday.
In arguing against bail, Assistant District Attorney John McConnell said "the victim provides a very powerful and detailed account. He has almost no incentive to stay in this country and almost every resource to leave it."
The victim, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea who has been in the U.S. for three years and has a 15-year-old daughter, “had no idea who the perpetrator was,” a source told amNewYork, adding that “there’s absolutely no motive for her to have lied.”
The Sofitel Hotel maid said a naked Strauss-Kahn locked her in his $3,000-a-night suite Saturday afternoon when she entered the room to clean not realizing someone was there.
"He sexually assaulted her and attempted to forcibly rape her,” McConnell told the judge. When that failed, “he forced her to perform oral sex.”
McConnell said a video captured Strauss-Kahn leaving the Sofitel after the alleged attack. “He appears to be a man who was in a hurry.”
Strauss-Kahn was arrested at 4:30 p.m. aboard an Air France flight that was minutes from departing for Paris. “When I hear your client was at JFK airport … that gives me reason for concern,” Jackson said.
Strauss-Kahn claims he was lunching with his daughter, who lives in the city, when the attack occurred.
Known as “The Great Seducer” for his many sexual conquests, the married Strauss-Kahn also may be facing charges in France for assaulting French journalist Tristane Banon in 2002. He faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted in the Sofitel case.
The story of high-powered figures foiled by sexual misdeeds is all-too familiar. What causes them to get into these situations?
“To have any of these elite positions you have to have an abundance of self-confidence and self-assurance," said Jason Young, a Hunter College psychology professor. “The dark side of that is that you can be almost over-assured that anything you do is justified. It can blind you from thoroughly considering questionable actions."
Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University, said: “Risk-taking is one of the essential ingredients in highly successful or leading public figures and politicians ... [Dominique] Strauss-Kahn fits that bill."
Many of these cases go unreported because victims don't think anyone would believe, experts added.
(amNY and Reuters)