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Judge Denies Bail for IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn in Sexual Assault Case

Dominique Strauss-KahnA New York court has remanded International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in custody without bail on sexual assault charges. He was arrested on Saturday after getting on a plane and was accused of trying to rape a maid at a hotel. This comes as the IMF chief was seen as a top candidate in the 2012 presidential election in France.

The alleged assault is said to have happened at the Sofitel hotel in Times Square. A New York Police Department complaint says a 32-year-old maid claimed to officers that Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom in the nude after when entered his suite on Saturday afternoon. Then he chased her and sexually assaulted her. She was able to get away and tell authorities, a spokesman added. Later, the IMF chief was detained on an Air France flight at JFK airport just minutes before it took off.

On Sunday, Strauss-Kahn went through medical examinations as police looked for scratches or other evidence having to do with the claimed assault. Later he was charged with a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. Police also noted that the maid identified him in a formal line-up.

According to prosecutors on Monday, this isn’t the first time that Strauss-Kahn has been involved in incidents like this, and they argued that he was arrested when trying to flee the country. Defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman contested this, claiming that his client wasn’t attempting an escape from the scene but was really in a hurry to make a lunch appointment. Later, his client called the hotel to say that he had left a mobile phone in his room but was at the airport, he added.

Despite this, Judge Melissa Jackson denied an offer from the defence to post a $1 million bail and stay with his daughter in New York until Friday’s hearing. She said that some concerns were raised when she heard that Strauss-Kahn was at JFK Airport and on a flight. The judge says the 62-year-old is a flight risk. Brafman, says he is disappointed that his client was denied bail, but he will be cleared of the charges. This battle has only started, he added.

Strauss-Kahn was a favourite in France to become the Socialist candidate in the presidential election. Opinion polls have indicated that he has a good chance in beating President Nicolas Sarkozy. Martine Aubry, the president of the Socialist party, called the IMF chief’s arrest a “thunderbolt” and has called for him to be cleared of the charges. French TV personality Anne Sinclair, his wife, has also protested that her husband is innocent.

However, it seems that this arrest has opened a can of worms for Strauss-Kahn, as French writer Tristane Banon has revealed that she is planning to file a complaint on him for an alleged sexual assault that happened in 2002. The 31-year-old says he tried to rape her when she interviewed him for a book she was writing.

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