Dominique Strauss-Kahn Calls Hotel Maid Incident a 'Moral Failure,' Not a Crime

PHOTO: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, waves as he leaves Roissy airport, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011.
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In his first public interview since his May 14 arrest over sexual assault allegations, Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he was "trampled and humiliated" in the U.S. judicial system, and called his encounter with a hotel maid "a moral failure."

Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and a once -- and possibly future -- likely candidate for president of France, said he had not spoken publicly before the interview today on France's TF1 television channel because he "wanted to speak in front of the French first."

During the 20-minute interview, Strauss-Kahn acknowledged his sexual encounter with Nofissatou Diallo, a New York hotel maid, but said the incident didn't include violence, constraint or aggression. He repeatedly said the incident was a "moral failing" on his part, but not a crime.

"It was a moral failure. I have regretted it every day for the last four months, and I am not done regretting it," Strauss-Kahn said. He called his wife an "exceptional woman" who supported him from the first moment because she believed he was innocent.

He called the sexual encounter with Diallo a "failure vis-à-vis my wife, my children and my friends."

In May, Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in his hotel suite. He was arrested and charged with sexual assault and attempted rape, but charges against him were dismissed last month, after prosecutors said the accuser had changed her story too many times.

Strauss-Kahn is still facing a pending civil case, which he said is "weird for the French that when the charges are dropped, a civil case can move forward, but that's American law."

He repeated the claims some others have made that Diallo had financial motivations for accusing him of assault. With repeated references to the prosecutor's report in the case in New York, Strauss-Kahn maintained that Diallo "lied" about the nature of the encounter.

When asked about how the U.S. justice system treated him, he said he was "very scared."

"When you are in the jaws of the machine, you think it can chew you up," he said. "I was trampled and humiliated before I could defend myself."

He also said he suffered violence and that he "lost a lot," but he acknowledged that others in the same situation could have lost more.

Of the other accusations against him by Tristane Banon, a writer who has accused him of sexual assault, Strauss-Kahn said there was no aggression or violence in that instance either, but that the case is ongoing, so he wouldn't make any further comment.

As for the continuing rumors that he is planning to run for president of France, he said: "I am a candidate for nothing."

He spent several minutes talking about his political positions, particularly the economy.

"I wanted to be a candidate," he said. "I thought my position at the IMF gave me a realistic view of France. I thought I could be useful and bring some answers. This is all behind me."

However, he did say that his "whole life has been dedicated to the public good, so we will see."

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