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UPDATED on Wednesday at 8:25 a.m.: The pressure on Dominique Strauss-Kahn to step down from his position as the head of the International Monetary Fund – or for the IMF to force him out – continues to build.
The latest voice to join the chorus is U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who on Tuesday night said that Strauss-Kahn is “obviously not in the position to run the IMF.”
Geithner’s comments come on the heels of similar ones by several top European officials. “Considering the situation, that bail was denied, [Strauss-Kahn] has to figure for himself that he is hurting the institution,” Austria’s finance minister, Maria Fekter, told journalists at a meeting of European finance ministers.
The Wall Street Journal reports that while IMF officials are treading carefully given the sensitive nature of the situation, they have reached out to Strauss-Kahn’s legal team to discuss his future at the organization. “They have gently inquired through his lawyers about his plans,” an unnamed source told the paper.
UPDATED, Tuesday at 11:15 a.m.: Dominique Strauss-Kahn spent Monday night in New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail.
The IMF chief was denied bail Monday, and will remain at Rikers at least until the end of the week. His next court appearance is Friday, May 20.
The juxtaposition between his new location and the swanky New York City hotel where the alleged crimes took place are hard to ignore. The “400-acre penal complex … offers a strikingly different level of comfort than the $3,000-a-night Manhattan hotel suite where authorities say Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape a maid,” the Associated Press notes in its lede.
The IMF chief will be kept in protective custody while awaiting his next court hearing. Unlike most prisoners who share 50-bed barracks, Strauss-Kahn will have a cell to himself. He’ll also eat his meals alone and have a prison guard escort anytime he is outside of the cell, the AP reports.
UPDATED on Monday at 3:55 p.m.: Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Monday court appearance came and went without any mention of a possible alibi.
A French radio station reported earlier in the day that the IMF chief’s defense team believes it can prove that Strauss-Kahn was having lunch with his daughter at the time that he was allegedly sexually assaulting a maid in his hotel suite.
But no such alibi appeared to surface during a bail hearing Monday, and the abbreviated courtroom action cast doubt on the existence of one.
Defense lawyers mentioned a lunch similar to the one referenced in the French report but did not appear to imply that it occurred at the same time of the alleged sexual attack.
The New York Times notes that the defense argued only that there “was evidence that between the time of the alleged attack and his flight, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was in the area, taking care of other business” and that he also “had a lunch meeting in the area of the hotel and that his lunch partner would be able to testify.”
Strauss-Kahn’s afternoon court appearance lasted less than 30 minutes, and his lawyers can still offer evidence that places him elsewhere at the time of the alleged crime.
But any potential alibi appeared to take a hit Monday, given that the prosecution claims to have video of Strauss-Kahn leaving the New York hotel where the alleged attack took place, which suggests that police know the specific time at which he left the hotel.
John McConnell, an assistant district attorney, described Strauss-Kahn as someone who appears in the video to be “a man who was in a hurry,” according to the NYT.
French radio station RMC first reported word of the rumored alibi. The station, which did not cite its sources, reported that Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers believe that he left the hotel midday Saturday—after paying his bill and turning in his room key—and then went to meet his daughter for lunch. But it remains unclear where that information originated from.
UPDATED at 12:42 P.M.: Strauss-Kahn was denied bail Monday afternoon after the prosecution successfully argued that he was a flight risk. The IMF managing director’s next court date is May 20. The defense had asked that bail be set at $1 million, MSNBC reports.
UPDATED at 10:35 a.m.: Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn reportedly say that the IMF chief has an alibi that places him at a restaurant with his daughter at the time he was alleged to be sexually assaulting a maid at a New York City hotel.
According to Reuters, French radio station RMC reported Monday that Strauss-Kahn’s legal team says that he left the hotel at midday Saturday—after paying his bill and turning in his room key—and then went to meet his daughter for lunch. Afterward, they say, he took a cab to the airport.
UPDATED at 9:28 a.m.: The news keeps getting worse for Strauss-Kahn. In France on Monday, a lawyer for a woman who says that Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in 2002 said she now wants to file her own legal complaint against the IMF chief, the Associated Press reports. The lawyer told RTL radio that because of this past weekend’s developments, his client “knows she’ll be heard and she knows she’ll be taken seriously.”
Original Post at 9:12 a.m.: International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn remained in police custody overnight Sunday after being picked from a police lineup by the female hotel maid accusing him of rape and as detectives sought DNA evidence to the bolster their case.
Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested Saturday at New York City’s Kennedy International Airport moments before his flight was set to take off for Paris, was expected to be arraigned sometime Monday morning on charges of attempted rape, criminal sexual, assault and unlawful imprisonment.
His arraignment had been originally expected Sunday evening, but was pushed back after the police requested a search warrant to examine his body for scrapes or other signs of injury that he might have suffered during the alleged attack or for traces of his accuser’s DNA. An unnamed law enforcement official explained to the New York Times that the police were hoping the examination would yield “the classic things you get in association with a sex assault.”
According to his lawyers, Strauss-Kahn “willingly consented” to the examination and planned to plead not guilty in court. Strauss-Kahn has hired high-profile defense attorney Benjamin Brafman, who has represented a number of prominent defendants, including Michael Jackson and rapper Sean Combs, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Earlier in the day, Strauss-Kahn's accuser—a 32-year-old maid at an expensive Midtown hotel—picked him from a lineup, police said. According to what the woman has told police, she entered Strauss-Kahn’s suite early Saturday afternoon believing it was unoccupied. However, once inside, she says she was rushed by a naked Strauss-Kahn who then locked her in the room and prevented her from leaving. After a struggle, he then allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him in the bathroom.
The police were called to the hotel at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, but Strauss-Kahn had already checked out by the time they arrived. According to what police have told reporters, he probably would have been able to leave the country before his arrest if not for his decision to call the hotel looking for his missing cell phone. “A hotel security official fibbed and said he did have the phone—then asked for Mr. Strauss-Kahn's location to meet him and return it,” the WSJ reports.
Before news of the allegations broke, Strauss-Kahn was a leading contender to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency. He was considered by many observers to be the best-positioned contender to unseat President Nicolas Sarkozy next year.
For more on the coverage of the DSK sexual assault case, click here.