This will put France's Socialist party in bind. But that's always a good thing.
NEW YORK – The leader of the International Monetary Fund and a possible candidate for president of France was yanked from an airplane moments before it was to depart for Paris and arrested in the alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid, police said.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested on charges of a criminal sex act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. He had been taken off the Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday afternoon by officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and was turned over to New York police, said Paul J. Browne, New York Police Department spokesman.
Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told The Associated Press that his client will plead not guilty at his expected Sunday afternoon arraignment.
"He denies all the charges against him," Brafman said. "And that's all I can really say right now."
France woke to the bombshell news Sunday to surprise and a degree of caution. Online commentators questioned whether the incident could have been part of a smear campaign by the unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose political fortunes have been flagging, against his primary rival in the race for next year's presidential elections.
The arrest could shake up the race for president next year, and throw the long-divided Socialists back into disarray about who they could present as a challenger to Sarkozy.
"It's a cross that will be difficult for him to bear," said Dominique Paille, a political rival to Strauss-Kahn on the center right, on BFM television.
"It's totally hallucinating. If it is true, this would be a historic moment, but in the negative sense, for French political life," Paille said. Still, he urged, "I hope that everyone respects the presumption of innocence. I cannot manage to believe this affair."
The 32-year-old woman told authorities that she entered Strauss-Kahn's suite at the luxury Sofitel hotel not far from Manhattan's Times Square at about 1 p.m. Eastern time (1600 GMT) Saturday and he attacked her, Browne said. She said she had been told to clean the spacious $3,000-a-night suite, which she had been told was empty.
According to an account the woman provided to police, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her. She said she fought him off, then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to break free again and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said. They called police.
When detectives arrived moments later, Strauss-Kahn had already left the hotel, leaving behind his cellphone, Browne said. "It looked like he got out of there in a hurry," Browne said.
The NYPD discovered he was at the airport and contacted Port Authority officials, who plucked Strauss-Kahn from first class on the Air France flight that was just about to leave the gate.
The maid was taken by police to a hospital and being treated for minor injuries. John Sheehan, a spokesman for the hotel, said its staff was cooperating in the investigation.
Hmmmm, interesting and if true then it must have been horrifying for the hotel maid. Forgetting a cell phone is not such a big deal, but if he wasn't scheduled to fly out and instead bought a last minute ticket to leave the country, it certainly makes the story more ominous.
Answer by QuinnMae at 11:32 AM on May. 15, 2011
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