Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is going on the offensive after a second woman accused him of attacking her by filing a counter suit against the woman, according to media reports.
Strauss-Kahn reportedly plans to sue French journalist Tristane Banon for false declarations after she accused him of attempting to rape her in 2003, when she was 23 years old. Banon's lawyer, David Koubbi, announced Monday Banon plans to file against Strauss-Kahn today.
Strauss-Kahn is already under investigation by U.S. prosecutors for the alleged rape of a maid in a New York hotel, though the prosecutors' case suffered a heavy blow last week when it was revealed that the maid had lied to prosecutors and to a grand jury.
Banon publicly described the alleged attack, which had previously been reported as taking place in 2002 rather than 2003, by Strauss-Kahn on a French television show in 2007.
"It ended up violent… I kicked him several times, he unbuttoned my bra … and tried to unzip my jeans," Banon said on the show.
In an interview published Tuesday in the French journal "L'Express," Banon described why she is pursuing her case against Strauss-Kahn.
"I cannot stand it any longer to hear that I am a liar because I'm not filing a complaint," Banon told l'Express.
She said she and her lawyer decided in mid-May they would eventually file a complaint, and they would not file right away in order not to interfere with the maid's case against Strauss-Kahn in New York. In fact, she said she and her lawyer wanted her story to remain completely separate from it.
"I did not want to comment because I know nothing of her case. If she lied about certain subjects, it does not necessarily mean she lied about rape," she said. "But for me, it has become unbearable. And then today, to see Strauss-Kahn free, dining at a fancy restaurant with friends, it makes me sick."
Banon said she has remained "traumatized" but the "attempted rape" for the past eight years.
"Dominique Strauss-Kahn has held the reins of my life... For once, I want to be master of what is happening… I want people to listen to me because I may finally have the chance to be heard," she said.
In 2003 Banon had arranged to meet with Strauss-Kahn to interview him for her first book "Admitted Mistakes," in which she queried politicians about the greatest error of their careers.
Banon said in the clip that Strauss-Kahn told her to meet him at an address that turned out to be an apartment that was empty except for a bed and a video camera. Banon said she was "surprised" when told to meet him there since she knew where he lived and worked.
Once inside, Banon said, Strauss-Kahn insisted that she conduct the interview "holding his hand."
Banon said that the hand-holding turned into sexual advances and that Strauss-Kahn became violent. They fought on the floor of the apartment.
"When we were fighting, I used the word 'rape' to scare him," said Banon, which she said did not stop Strauss-Kahn. Ultimately, she fought him off and left.
Koubbi said that Banon did not immediately file charges because the girl's mother advised her against it.
Lawyers for 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn told The Associated Press Banon's story is "imaginary."
"[Strauss-Kahn] notes that this complaint comes quite conveniently right at the moment when there is no longer the slightest doubt about the false nature of the accusations against him in the United States," attorneys Henri Leclerc and Frederique Baulieu said in a joint statement, according to the AP.
In a recent interview on French television, Koubbi said "it's not her word against his. There are witnesses."