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News, May 2011
DominiqueStrauss-Kahn Resigns as IMF Chief
Following his Arrest in New York on Sexual Assault Charges
May 19, 2011
Strauss-Kahn resigns as IMF chief
By Michelle Nichols and Basil Katz
NEW YORK | Thu May 19, 2011 12:53am EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) -
The International Monetary Fund said Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned as its head following charges against him of sexual assault and attempted rape.
"I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me," Strauss-Kahn said in his letter of resignation, which was released by the IMF and dated May 18.
"I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence."
He will on Thursday for a second time request release on $1 million cash bail and placement under 24-hour house arrest while he awaits trial on charges of attempting to rape a hotel maid, his lawyers said. He is being held in New York's notorious Rikers Island jail. "Yes there will definitely be a bail hearing tomorrow," Manhattan District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Erin Duggan told Reuters on Wednesday.
Strauss-Kahn's arrest has dashed his prospects to run for the French presidency in 2012 and raised broader issues over the future of the International Monetary Fund.
Developing countries are questioning Europe's hold on the top IMF position, and jockeying to replace him has already begun.
New details emerged on Wednesday about the sequence of events surrounding the alleged sexual attack on the maid. Strauss-Kahn left the Sofitel near Times Square in Manhattan around 12:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday and roughly an hour later, hotel security called police to report an alleged sexual assault, a law enforcement source said.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Europe would naturally put forward a candidate to replace Strauss-Kahn if he were to step down.
Text: IMF statement on Dominique Strauss-Kahn's resignation
Thu May 19, 2011 12:35am EDT
Following is a statement from the International Monetary Fund regarding Managing Director Dominique Strauss Kahn's resignation:
Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn today informed the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of his intention to resign as Managing Director with immediate effect. Mr. Strauss-Kahn made the following statement in a formal letter of resignation to the Board:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board:
It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the Executive Board my resignation from my post of Managing Director of the IMF.
I think at this time first of my wife-whom I love more than anything-of my children, of my family, of my friends. I think also of my colleagues at the Fund; together we have accomplished such great things over the last three years and more.
To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me.
I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and especially-especially-I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence.
The Fund will communicate in the near future on the Executive Board's process of selecting a new Managing Director. Meanwhile, Mr. John Lipsky remains Acting Managing Director.
Strauss-Kahn may attempt a consensual sex defense
Wed, May 18 2011
By Joseph Ax and Jennifer Golson
NEW YORK | Thu May 19, 2011 12:23am EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) -
It was fewer than a dozen words uttered in the midst of a lengthy statement. Yet the remark from Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyer on Monday may speak volumes about the defense he plans to employ should the case reach trial.
"The forensic evidence, we believe, are not consistent with forcible encounter," Benjamin Brafman told Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson in the course of arguing that his client should receive bail on charges of attempted rape and sexual assault.
Brafman gave no details and made no other mention of this evidence, and defense lawyers warned that it may be too soon to try to read the tea leaves based on Brafman's brief words.
Nevertheless, his words have sparked widespread speculation that the International Monetary Fund chief will argue that any sexual encounter between him and a chambermaid on May 14 at a New York hotel was consensual.
And based on the few details known from initial reports, defense lawyers said the case against Strauss-Kahn appears far from a slam dunk.
"There's a lot of evidence that someone was upset," said Daniel Arshack, an attorney at Arshack, Hajek & Lehrman in New York. "But there's very little evidence that a crime actually occurred.
The first element of the prosecution's case would be to establish that a sexual encounter occurred in the hotel room. Even the presence of semen in the room would not necessarily be enough, Arshack said. "It doesn't necessarily mean that there was any sex between these two people."
Assuming the prosecution can prove that some kind of sexual incident took place, defense experts said, Strauss-Kahn could then employ a consensual sex defense, claiming the housekeeper was not forced to engage in any sex against her will.
A QUESTION OF CREDIBILITY
Under New York law, "forcible compulsion" occurs when someone employs the "use of physical force" or "a threat, express or implied, which places a person in fear of immediate death or physical injury" or kidnapping.
If no compelling physical evidence exists, such as bruises, cuts or other injuries, a consensual sex defense would turn on the alleged victim's credibility as a witness, and on that of Strauss-Kahn, if he chose to testify.
"Nobody except for Mr. Strauss-Kahn and the woman who has not been named knows what happened or didn't happen in that room," said Richard Willstatter of Green & Willstatter, the president-elect of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "Prosecutors like to say they know what happened. But they really don't know what happened."
New York's rape shield law protects alleged rape victims from certain avenues of cross examination, including questions about their sexual history or sexual conduct, except in rare cases or at the judge's discretion.
Any evidence that the woman in the Strauss-Kahn case has a history of lying, however, would be fair game, and experts said his defense team will examine her background closely.
"Since the likely scenario in this case is going to be one of credibility, whatever evidence there is that casts a shadow on the complaining witness' credibility casts an equally long shadow on the prosecutor's ability to try the case," Arshack said.
Joseph Hayden of Walder Hayden & Brogan in Roseland, New Jersey, whose clients have included former Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano and former New Jersey Net Jayson Williams, said a defense attorney would explore what, if any, motivation an alleged victim would have to fabricate the report.
"You'd want to know about her emotional background, her stability, her financial situation, whether or not she has a prior history of litigation against people," Hayden said. "I'm not a believer in trashing people in public unless there is a basis for it, but you certainly explore everything."
POTENTIAL CIVIL CASE
David Ratner, a civil litigator at Morelli Ratner in New York, said the defense could also argue the woman is seeking a payout from a potential civil case.
"They're taking her story of being this hardworking immigrant trying to make it in America and turning it around and trying to make her seem to be a hustler," he said.
At the same time, the defense could try to emphasize Strauss-Kahn's own character, arguing he was not the sort to commit sexual assault, said Todd Berger, who teaches criminal law at Rutgers University School of Law at Camden.
Or his lawyers could point to Strauss-Kahn's troubled history with women -- among other reports, a French journalist accused him of trying to force himself upon her in 2002, and his affairs have long been considered an open secret in France -- as evidence that he suffers from mental illness, said James Cohen, a professor at Fordham University School of Law.
Of course, the case may never come to a trial. While the dynamics of each case are unique, Arshack pointed out that only one in every 200 criminal cases in New York City ever goes to trial.
But Kim Taylor-Thomson, a professor of criminal law at New York University School of Law, said Strauss-Khan's political aspirations make it unlikely he would accept a plea bargain.
"He is probably not someone who would be willing to take a plea offer, given that he is concerned about clearing his name," said Taylor-Thomson, who formerly ran the Public Defender Service of Washington, D.C.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax and Jennifer Golson; Editing by Jesse Wegman and Todd Eastham)
Factbox: Timeline of events in Strauss-Kahn case
NEW YORK | Thu May 19, 2011 12:23am EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being held in a prison in New York on charges that he attempted to rape a maid at a New York hotel on Saturday.
Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have denied the charges.
The scandal has appeared to wreck his hopes of running for president of France and has prompted calls for new leadership of the IMF which oversees the world economy.
Here is a timeline of events:
FRIDAY AFTERNOON - Strauss-Kahn checked into a $3,000 a night suite at the luxury Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan, which a law enforcement source said he was paying a discounted rate of $800.
The suite has a foyer, a conference room, a living room and a bedroom. The 30-storey hotel has an Art Deco restaurant and bar called Gaby, which the website (www.sofitel.com) says serves "French flair in a glamorous setting."
The hotel is near Times Square, Broadway theaters, Fifth Avenue shopping and Central Park.
SATURDAY ABOUT 12:00 P.M. EDT - A 32-year-old maid entered Strauss-Kahn's suite, room 2806, which she apparently thought was unoccupied.
Following routine procedure, the maid announced herself when she entered the suite, and left the front door to the suite unlocked and ajar, a law enforcement said. She entered the living room and saw nobody. Then she opened the door to the bedroom, where she saw Strauss Kahn, naked. She apologized and said she would come back later, and started to leave the room.
Strauss-Kahn allegedly ran after the maid and, according to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors, shut the door of his hotel room, preventing her from leaving. He grabbed the victim's chest without consent, attempted to remove her pantyhose, and forcibly grabbed the victim's vaginal area. His penis made contact with the victim's mouth twice through the use of force, prosecutors said.
The woman fled and reported the incident to her supervisor who called police. Strauss-Kahn left the hotel, leaving behind his mobile phone.
An ambulance was called to the hotel and the woman was taken to a hospital where she was treated and released.
SATURDAY, 12.28 P.M. - Strauss-Kahn checked out of the Sofitel hotel, according to court papers filed by his lawyers with the New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday.
SATURDAY, 12.45 P.M. - Strauss-Kahn "proceeded to a previously scheduled lunch a few blocks away" from the Sofitel hotel, according to the court papers.
SATURDAY, about 1:30 P.M. - Security staff at the Sofitel called police to report the alleged sexual assault, a law enforcement source told Reuters. The first police units arrived at the hotel at 1:45 pm, the source said.
SATURDAY, TIME UNKNOWN - "Strauss-Kahn was driven to John F. Kennedy International Airport to catch an Air France flight to Paris, which was scheduled to depart at 4:40 p.m. A seat for Mr. Strauss-Kahn had been reserved on that particular flight approximately one week in advance," court papers filed by defense lawyers said.
SATURDAY, about 3.30 P.M. - Strauss-Kahn called the hotel to ask about his missing mobile phone.
Police were still at the hotel and asked the staff member speaking to Strauss-Kahn to tell him an urgent effort would be made to return the phone. Strauss-Kahn told the hotel staff member to bring the phone to him at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
SATURDAY, TIME UNKNOWN - Strauss-Kahn boarded Air France flight 23 for Paris at New York's JFK airport and was seated in the first class section. He had been due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Europe on Sunday and attend meetings on the region's debt crisis on Monday.
SATURDAY about 4:40 P.M. - Police from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the bridges, tunnels and airports in the area, boarded the flight minutes before it was due to depart and detained Strauss-Kahn. He was not handcuffed.
The Port Authority police turned him over to New York Police Department detectives from the Midtown South Precinct, which covers the area of Manhattan where the Sofitel hotel is located. They handcuffed him.
Strauss-Kahn made no statements and requested a lawyer. He was taken to the NYPD's Special Victims Unit in the Harlem neighborhood, where he was kept in a room reserved for questioning. He made no statements and declined any food. The Special Victims Unit investigates sex crimes.
SATURDAY NIGHT/SUNDAY MORNING, TIME UNKNOWN - The consul general of France met with Strauss-Kahn under the regular rules of consular protection for all French citizens detained abroad, said Marie-Laure Charrier, a spokeswoman for the French consulate in New York.
SUNDAY 1:15 A.M. - Brafman told Reuters in an email that the IMF chief would plead not guilty.
Brafman is a high-profile criminal lawyer who was part of Michael Jackson's legal team that successfully defended the pop singer against child molestation charges in 2005. Brafman also won an acquittal on weapons and bribery charges for rap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
SUNDAY 2:15 A.M. - Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged with a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. Strauss-Kahn spent the night at the Special Victims Unit, which is on the second floor of a red brick and concrete building, sleeping in a chair with his feet propped up in another chair.
SUNDAY MORNING, TIME UNKNOWN - Strauss-Kahn ate a breakfast of home fries, scrambled eggs and toast brought in from an outside diner, a law enforcement said.
SUNDAY 11 A.M. - Strauss-Kahn's wife, French television personality Anne Sinclair, said in a statement: "I do not believe for a single second the accusations leveled against my husband ... I do not doubt his innocence will be established."
SUNDAY 1 P.M. - Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, Brafman and William Taylor, arrived and spent half an hour with their client. Brafman again said Strauss-Kahn would plead not guilty.
SUNDAY 2 P.M. - Sofitel New York manager Jorge Tito said in a statement sent by property owner Accor in Paris that the maid who made the allegations had worked for the hotel for three years and was "completely satisfactory in terms of her work and behavior."
SUNDAY 3.30 P.M. - Brafman and Taylor arrived and spent 45 minutes with Strauss-Kahn.
SUNDAY 3.50 P.M. - The maid arrived at the Special Victims Unit in a van and shielded by police with a white sheet from photographers. She spent 40 minutes there. She identified Strauss-Kahn in a lineup, a NYPD spokesman said. "It was a standard lineup -- six people," he said.
SUNDAY, TIME UNKNOWN - Strauss-Kahn ate a ham and cheese sandwich with mustard and drinks a bottle of water, a law enforcement source said.
SUNDAY 10.30 P.M. - Strauss-Kahn's lawyers told reporters on the steps of Manhattan Criminal Court that his court appearance had been postponed so he could undergo a "scientific and forensic" examination that had been requested by investigators. Taylor said Strauss-Kahn was "tired but fine."
SUNDAY 11 P.M. - A handcuffed Strauss-Kahn, wearing black pants, a blue dress shirt and a black overcoat, was escorted from the Special Victims Unit by detectives. He was taken to Kings County Hospital in the New York City borough of Brooklyn where he was examined by forensic technicians who specialize in investigating sexual assault cases.
MONDAY about 3.30 A.M - Strauss-Kahn's mug shot was taken at the Manhattan Criminal Court building detention center, best known as "The Tombs," where he spent the night. The photo showed him looking haggard, his eyes downcast and his shirt collar open.
MONDAY 10.50 A.M. - Strauss-Kahn entered Manhattan Criminal Court for his hearing. Before his appearance, other defendants appeared before the judge in the media-packed courtroom on charges including drug possession, criminal trespassing and delinquency.
Strauss-Kahn appeared to be dressed in the same clothes he was wearing on Sunday and looked tired and grim.
MONDAY 12 P.M - Strauss-Kahn was denied bail. He is due to reappear in court on May 20.
MONDAY, TIME UNKNOWN - Strauss-Kahn was transferred to Rikers Island jail and held in protective custody in an 11 foot by 13 foot (3.35 meter by 4 meter) cell, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Correction said.
TUESDAY, TIME UNKNOWN - At Strauss-Kahn's request, the French consul general visited him at Rikers Island jail, a consul spokesman said.
WEDNESDAY, TIME UNKNOWN - The French consul general again visited Strauss-Kahn, a consul spokesman said.
WEDNESDAY, TIME UNKNOWN - Strauss-Kahn's lawyers lodged an appeal seeking bail with the New York State Supreme Court. They want him released on bail of $1 million in cash and placed under 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring, according to the court papers. A bail hearing is due to be held on Thursday. It is unclear whether Strauss-Kahn will attend.
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