IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to Spend Night at Rikers Island Jail; Denied Bail in Alleged Sex Attack in Luxury Suite

From $3,000 hotel suite to common prison cell in 48 hours.

May 16, 2011, 11:42 AM

May 16, 2011— -- International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, accused of the attempted rape of a maid in a $3,000-a-night New York hotel suite, is spending tonight in less luxurious surroundings -- the New York City jail on Rikers Island, according to city Department of Corrections officials.

Because of his high profile, Strauss-Kahn, 62, will be housed in protective custody while in Rikers Island's west facility, the smallest of the nine jails that comprise the New York City jail complex there.

The west facility houses about 30 inmates in single-person cells that are 11 by 13 feet, according to New York's Department of Corrections. Strauss-Kahn will either have a window or other direct natural light facing the door to his cell.

Earlier today, a New York City judge denied bail to the Frenchman, calling him a flight risk despite arguments to the contrary by his high-powered defense team. He will remain in jail until his hearing on Friday.

Wearing a black jacket and a light-colored shirt, Strauss-Kahn looked haggard but displayed a sense of haughtiness as he heard his short-term fate.

His attorneys had denied the seven counts against him, which included allegedly forcing a housekeeper at a New York City Sofitel Hotel to perform oral sex, and allegedly forcing her to submit to anal sex after allegedly taking her prisoner inside a his luxury suite.

He spent Sunday night sleeping in a squad room chair in a New York Police Department Special Victims Unit in Harlem.

During his first few hours at the Special Victims Unit on Saturday evening, Strauss-Kahn declined offers of meals. But by Sunday morning, he was hungry, police said.

"On Sunday, we ordered at his request scrambled eggs, home fries and toast from a local diner," Deputy Police Commissioner for Pubic Information Paul Browne said.

That evening he dined on a ham and cheese sandwich with mustard purchased at a Harlem deli, Browne said, adding that he was guessing that the Police Department paid a total of about $10 for Strauss-Kahn's meals.

Strauss-Kahn drank only water, police said. And according to Browne, he declined the offer of a mattress pad during his overnight stay, instead, resting in a squad room chair and from time to time putting his feet up on a second chair before drifting into sleep.

Despite the sudden reversal in his circumstances, a source who has been in direct contact with Strauss-Kahn told ABC News he is doing well.

"Dominique Strauss-Kahn is holding up remarkably well under the circumstances," the source said. "He has been gracious throughout this process. He is very grateful for the efforts of his entire legal team. Though he is unable to hear directly from his supporters in France, he knows the outpouring has been extraordinary and he is deeply moved."

All told, Strauss-Kahn has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, one count of attempted rape, sexual abuse in the first degree, unlawful imprisonment, sexual abuse in the third degree and forcible touching. The complaint in criminal court in Manhattan charges that he forcibly touched the housekeeper's breasts, attempted to pull off her panty hose, twice "forcibly made contact with his penis and the informant's mouth" and that "the defendant engaged in oral sexual conduct and anal sexual conduct with another person by forcible compulsion."

Assistant District Attorney John McConnell told reporters today the victim provided a "very violent and detailed account" of the assault.

He said she made appeals to multiple witnesses after the alleged attack. She was taken to the hospital for a standard rape examination and the "observations and findings corroborate her account," he said.

The office of District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. asked that Strauss-Kahn be remanded to jail, a course of action that took shape in the hours after the IMF chief's arrest Saturday as the prosecutor's office wrestled with how to balance the rights of the accused with the facts of the case, and his potential to flee their jurisdiction.

In arguing for the remand, McConnell said, prosecutors are obtaining additional information against the suspect, including allegations that he has "engaged in similar conduct at least once before."

"This guy has every reason to run, and the law may even help him hide from this situation," one investigator said.

He has personal, political and financial resources to evade capture, the DA's office said in open court. He is, an assistant district attorney said, an "incurable" flight risk.

His defense team -- Ben Brafman and William Taylor, among the best criminal defense attorneys money can buy -- spent hours behind the scenes attempting to structure terms that would have allowed their client to stay out of jail while defending himself against the charges.

In court today, Brafman argued that Strauss-Kahn had a "very important" incentive to clear his name.

Strauss-Kahn is "entitled to bail" and prepared to stay with his daughter at her New York City apartment, the lawyer said. Strauss-Kahn also offered to post $1 million bail.

Brafman called his client the "most easily identifiable person in the world" right now and he called the case against him "very defensible."

He added that it was inaccurate to suggest that Strauss-Kahn rushed to the airport. Brafman said his client had been at a several hours-long lunch appointment between the time of the alleged incident and when police caught up with him aboard an Air France plane at Kennedy Airport scheduled to depart for Paris.

Like Strauss-Kahn, most of the Rikers Island complex inmates are in pretrial status -- awaiting trial. Most of those are in dorms housing 50 to 60 inmates in a self-contained unit with a day room, television, a shower and other facilities, according to New York's Department of Corrections.

Strauss-Kahn will be locked in his cell after lights out, the department said. He will eat his meals in his cell, standard practice for inmates housed in a cell, and be allowed out for an hour a day for outdoor exercise. He also will be able to walk in the corridors and areas adjacent to his cell from time to time during the day. He can leave for visitors and he can leave for the commissary.

Strauss-Kahn will not have proximity or contact with other inmates. Each time he is authorized to leave his cell he will be accompanied by corrections officers.

Strauss-Kahn, until this weekend, oversaw the International Monetary Fund, a body established to keep the global monetary system stable, with the ability to lend hundreds of billions of dollars.

He was considered a legitimate contender for the French presidency in an upcoming election, and his arrest has reportedly sparked "shock and disbelief" in France.

ABC News' Adam Stephan, Lauren Pearle, Michael Murray and Michael S. James contributed to this report.

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