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IMF head posts $1 million bail but still stuck in jail

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, May 20, 2011 17:30 EDT
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Update: Reuters is now reporting that Strauss-Kahn has been released into the custody of a New York security firm and may be held at a “safe house” in downtown Manhattan

NEW YORK (AFP) – Dominique Strauss-Kahn posted $6 million bail and bond Friday, but may have to extend his humiliating four-night stay in Rikers Island jail after house arrest plans were thrown into disarray.

Strauss-Kahn, who is facing trial for the alleged sexual assault of a Guinean chambermaid, was only to be allowed out on condition that he would be under constant surveillance in an apartment rented by his wife Anne Sinclair.

Those plans came unstuck when residents at the Bristol Plaza complained that the former IMF chief was going to be a guest in the smart building, which has a 24-hour concierge, a maid service, and a swimming pool, US media reported.

Strauss-Kahn posted $1 million bail and a $5 million insurance bond Friday, but “other conditions” for his release were still to be met and a new hearing to discuss those conditions was due to start at 1830 GMT, the court said.

“The judge has signed the bond,” a court official told AFP, without commenting on reports of the apartment deal falling through, which remained unconfirmed.
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Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn, who is accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape the 32-year-old hotel maid, convinced a judge on Thursday to release him on bail pending trial, under very strict provisions.

The 62-year-old veteran politician has resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund under the weight of a scandal that has also ended any hope he had of replacing Nicolas Sarkozy as French president in 2012.

The case has sent ripples around the globe, setting off a heated battle between Europe and emerging powers over who should fill his role at the world lender, which is bailing out failing economies left, right and center.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is tipped as a likely successor but developing nations such as Brazil, Mexico and China have urged a rethink of the conventional wisdom that an IMF chief has to come from Europe.

Under the terms of the bail deal, Strauss-Kahn must wear an ankle monitoring bracelet and be under 24-hour surveillance, meaning any flat he stays in would have to be kitted out specially with video cameras.

Prosecutors requested he face strict visitation restrictions — just four non-family visitors at one time — and that he only be allowed to leave the apartment for visits to court, doctors, a house of worship and his lawyers.

He must also have at least one armed guard as part of the elaborate deal, which will come at an estimated personal cost to Strauss-Kahn of more than $200,000 a month.

Camille, Strauss-Kahn’s daughter by a previous marriage, lives in Manhattan on the Upper West Side as she completes her graduate studies at Columbia University.

A grand jury has voted to indict the Socialist power baron on all seven charges related to the sexual assault and attempted rape of a maid on Saturday in his luxury suite at Manhattan’s Sofitel hotel.

Strauss-Kahn has denied all charges and is expected to enter a plea of not guilty at his next court appearance on June 6. He could spend the rest of his life in prison if found guilty.

Strauss-Kahn was escorted on Saturday afternoon off an Air France flight bound for Paris, minutes before take-off.

The prosecution contends he was seen rushing from his hotel room after the alleged attack, but the defense says he was simply late for lunch with someone who will testify to that effect, reportedly Camille.

“The proof against him is substantial. It continues to grow every day,” Assistant District Attorney John McConnell told Thursday’s hearing.

US media say police have taken forensic evidence from the hotel, including bodily fluids found on a section of rug where the alleged victim remembered spitting after she says Strauss-Kahn assaulted her and forced her to perform oral sex.

Jeff Shapiro, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, has said his client, who has not been identified except by some in the French media, was “alarmed” at the prospect of her alleged attacker leaving jail.

She testified on Wednesday and Thursday before the grand jury that later decided to send the case to trial.

If Strauss-Kahn were to plead guilty there would be no trial, but this is considered highly unlikely.

His star lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said earlier this week the evidence “will not be consistent with a forcible encounter,” suggesting the defense was preparing to go to trial and could argue that whatever happened was consensual.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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