July 14, 2024

City Room: Strauss-Kahn Pleads Not Guilty

Dominique Strauss-KahnMichael Appleton for The New York TimesDominique Strauss-Kahn, second from left, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, arriving at Manhattan Criminal Court.

Updated 10:55 a.m. | Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel housekeeper.

In doing so, Mr. Strauss-Kahn uttered his first public words since the episode in the Sofitel New York, saying “not guilty” in a heavy French accent — setting the stage for a criminal trial in which Mr. Strauss-Kahn is expected to face his accuser.

Indeed, a lawyer for the housekeeper said on Monday that the woman intends to testify against Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

“She is going to come into this courthouse, get on that witness stand and tell the world what Dominique Strauss-Kahn did to her,” said Kenneth P. Thompson, the lead counsel for the woman.

Recreating an Encounter


An interactive diagram of the alleged assault.

The arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court lasted all of four minutes, and proceeded as expected: Mr. Strauss-Kahn was formally charged in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on allegations that he tried to rape the 32-year-old room attendant at the Sofitel. Prosecutors also accuse him of forcing her to perform oral sex. The defense has indicated that it will argue that any sexual encounter was consensual.

“Once the evidence is reviewed it will be clear that there was no element of forcible compulsion whatsoever, any evidence to the contrary is simply not credible,” said Benjamin Brafman, one of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers.

The frenzied interest in his case continued on Monday, with scores of reporters and camera crews stationed in the courtroom, outside the courthouse and even outside the townhouse in Lower Manhattan where Mr. Strauss-Kahn has been under house arrest.

As he arrived at the courthouse shortly before 9 a.m., witnesses said that protesters from a hotel housekeepers’ union yelled, “Shame on you!”

For the past few weeks, Mr. Strauss-Kahn has been staying a few blocks from the courthouse at 100 Centre Street in a multimillion-dollar luxury townhouse. He is under house arrest, wearing an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet, and can leave only under limited circumstances, such as to visit his lawyers or go to religious services.

Even from the 13th-floor courtroom, chanting could be heard from the demonstrators on the street.

When he entered the building, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was taken to a waiting area behind closed doors, where he stayed until the proceeding started.

About 9 a.m., the prosecutors on the case, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Artie McConnell, entered the courtroom, where about 100 members of the news media were already seated.

About five minutes later, one of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, William W. Taylor III, came in from the back, smiled and shook the prosecutors’ hands. They had had a brief conversation before Mr. Taylor returned to the back.

A short time after that, Mr. Thompson, the lawyer for the accuser, entered the courtroom and took a seat in the front row with two others.

At 9:15 a.m., Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s wife and his lawyers, including Mr. Brafman, entered the courtroom from a back room.

At 9:17, Mr. Strauss-Kahn entered the courtroom from a side door, expressionless with a dark suit and blue tie.

At 9:22, the judge handling the case, Michael J. Obus, took the bench to start the proceeding.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s next court date is July 18.

The arraignment of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who many thought might be France’s next president, was covered live in special editions on many French television channels. The arraignment was live on the two main French channels, TF1 and France 2, on the domestic news cable channels and on France24, which broadcasts in French, English and Arabic.

“He pleaded not guilty,” Mr. Brafman said after the arraignment. “That is a very eloquent, powerful statement that he made that denies the charges.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=0c5ffcdb9a334d3b08573e6f1a11f394

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