August 18, 2022

Biography Gives Strauss-Kahn’s Allies a Forum

The comments by the wife, Anne Sinclair, appear in a revised version of “Le Roman Vrai de Dominique Strauss-Kahn” (“The True Story of Dominique Strauss-Kahn”), which will be released in France on Thursday.

The biography was first published in May, a week before Mr. Strauss-Kahn was arrested on charges of attacking a housekeeper inside his Manhattan hotel room. The revision can be seen as an attempt to bolster his defense. (An English translation is under way.)

The author, Michel Taubmann, includes interviews with Ms. Sinclair, who is famous in France for having been a television journalist, and Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s sister, Valérie, as well as a denial from Mr. Strauss-Kahn regarding a French writer’s accusation that he had tried to rape her in 2003.

“The scene she recounts is imaginary,” Mr. Strauss-Kahn said in an interview with the author in March, two months before his arrest in New York. “Do you see me throwing a woman on the floor and being violent, as she claims it?”

The woman, Tristane Banon, has said publicly that Mr. Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her during an interview she was conducting with him in 2003.

Ms. Banon had given her account on a reality television show in 2007, saying that a politician, whom she later identified as Mr. Strauss-Kahn, had tried to rape her in a sparsely furnished apartment in Paris.

“He wanted to grab my hand while answering my questions, and then my arm,” she said. “We ended up fighting, since I said clearly, ‘No, no.’ We fought on the floor, I kicked him, he undid my bra, he tried to remove my jeans.”

The book also refers to a 10-page chapter about Mr. Strauss-Kahn that was deleted from a book Ms. Banon wrote in 2003. The interview-based book, “Erreurs Avouées,” or “Confessed Mistakes,” describes the mistakes made by a number of important figures in France, including the publicist Jacques Séguéla and the fashion designer Christian Lacroix. Citing the chapter, Mr. Taubmann wrote, “Ms. Banon doesn’t mention, at any moment, the slightest violence or inappropriate gesture from Mr. Strauss-Kahn.”

The text of the chapter, which was made available to The New York Times, is more ambiguous.

Ms. Banon wrote that Mr. Strauss-Kahn departed from what had been a businesslike demeanor.

“He tries to play with his charm, and would like us to play another game,” Ms. Banon wrote.

She added: “He wants to go fast. The ogre, he wants to devour his prey.”

At the end of the chapter, Ms. Banon wrote: “The only thing I want is to leave. I end up doing that … Thirty minutes later, I promise him in return that I’ll come back, which I never do.”

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s team had pressured Ms. Banon to remove the chapter from the book. She refused, but her publisher overruled her.

In the chapter, Mr. Strauss-Kahn spoke about his involvement in a major political and financial scandal in 1998, although he was cleared of charges. But Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s communication adviser at the time, Ramzi Khiroun, explained in Mr. Taubmann’s book that the chapter was deleted to “avoid focusing attention on affairs he was wrongly accused of,” at a time when Mr. Strauss-Kahn was a rising member of the French Socialist Party.

Ms. Banon has made no public statement and refused all requests for interviews since Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest.

Her lawyer, David Koubbi, called the revised edition of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s biography a “mine-clearing and rescue operation” in favor of Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

Ms. Banon did not file criminal charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn, but Mr. Koubbi has said that after the arrest in New York, she decided that she would.

Since the arrest, Ms. Sinclair has publicly supported her husband, who lost his job as managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She said in a statement the day after his arrest that she did not believe the accusations “for a single second.”

“I am certain his innocence will be proven,” she added.

In an e-mail sent to Mr. Taubmann five days after the arrest, Ms. Sinclair wrote that she had “no doubt on the merits, but still very worried.”

The new edition of the book also includes a new interview with Ms. Sinclair in which she describes her husband as “a good, honest and reliable man.”

“I believe in him more than ever. Our marriage is solid as a rock,” she said. “We’ll come out of this drama together, dignified and standing tall, hand in hand.”

Many of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s supporters, including his sister, have rallied around him and proclaimed that he is neither a violent man nor someone capable of committing sexual assault.

“I know my brother,” Valérie Strauss-Kahn said. “I know he is incapable of being violent toward a woman.”

She acknowledged that she did not know anything about “what happened in New York,” but added that she could testify on “the values of our education, which are just the opposite of all physical violence.”

Article source:

Speak Your Mind