Strauss-Kahn Resigns From IMF; Lawyers to Seek Bail on Rape Charges

Attorneys to ask court to release their client from pretrial detention.

May 19, 2011, 3:14 AM

May 19, 2011— -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund late Wednesday, will return to court with his lawyers this morning in a second attempt to win bail on charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.

Strauss-Kahn, until the arrest a likely candidate for the presidency of France, officially resigned from the position he held since 2007 via a letter on Wednesday, an IMF press release stated.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested on Saturday on various charges, including committing a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment, stemming from an alleged incident in a Manhattan suite, where he is accused of the attempted rape a hotel maid.

His defense lawyers' offer of a $1 million bail package was rejected by the Manhattan Criminal Court at an initial hearing on Monday on grounds that Strauss-Kahn is a flight risk. Since then, he has been held in an 11 by 13 cell at the West Facility on New York's Riker's Island, where he remains on suicide watch.

According to court papers filed by his defense team Wednesday, Strauss-Kahn has surrendered his passport. His attorneys again proposed posting $1 million cash bail but have now said he would be confined to the home of his daughter, Camille, a Columbia University graduate student, 24 hours a day with electronic monitoring, according to the Associated Press.

It is unclear if Strauss-Kahn will be present for Thursday's court proceedings.

Strauss-Kahn was first taken into custody at New York's JFK airport Saturday after the hotel maid told police he tried to sexually assault her.

Today is Strauss-Kahn's scheduled visiting day at Riker's Island. Media reports from France indicate that his family is expected to visit him; if so, as many as three of them may visit for up to one hour.

The 32-year-old hotel maid he allegedly sexually assaulted gave her side of the story in testimony to a Manhattan grand jury today. That grand jury will soon vote to determine whether Strauss-Kahn will be indicted on charges already outlined in a terse criminal complaint released earlier this week.

Police say at 1 p.m., a hotel housekeeper entered room 2806 at Sofitel in Manhattan -- a luxury $3,000-per-night, multi-room suite -- when Strauss-Kahn allegedly walked out of his bathroom naked and forced himself on the 32-year-old woman.

NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne said that according to the maid's account, Strauss-Kahn grabbed her "and pulls her into the bedroom and onto the bed." He locked the door to the suite, Browne said.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have challenged the maid's account, suggesting that any sexual encounter between the accuser and their client was consensual.

"The forensic evidence, we believe, will not be consistent with a forcible encounter," Benjamin Brafman, an attorney for Strauss-Kahn, said in court on Monday.

Evidence in the case, including hotel electronic card key records and security cameras, along with police interviews, all support the victim's claim of being in the room at the same time as Strauss-Kahn, ABC News has learned. She was in the room for perhaps as long as 15 minutes, and prosecutors and the alleged victim's lawyer state strongly that there is no proof that anything that happened was consensual.

"There was nothing that took place in that hotel room which in any way could be construed as consensual. This woman was absolutely the victim of a physical and sexual assault," Jeffrey Shapiro, the attorney representing the maid, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Shapiro indicated that Strauss-Kahn's accuser – who according to the attorney is a widowed Muslim immigrant from Guinea with a 15-year-old-daughter -- is in distress after the alleged incident and has been placed in a safe house under police protection.

"She does not have relatives here, she doesn't have family. She's extremely vulnerable here. Her life was taken from her … She can't go home, she can't go back to work, she's doesn't know what's going to happen to her next. She doesn't know how she's going to make her way in the world," Shapiro said.

Speaking on "Good Morning America" today, Shapiro said that the woman has finally been reunited with her daughter, and is concerned for her and her daughter's safety as Strauss-Kahn's attorneys seeks bail for the second time.

"My concern is for my client the fact is given her background coming from where danger is on every corner, and law enforcement is not available. She is concerned about her safety and her daughter's safety. And the idea that the man who did this to her is on the street is frightening to her," Shapiro said.

The French React

In France, there is growing sympathy for Strauss-Kahn, sparked by the footage of their country's most prominent political figures being treated like a common criminal. In France the "perp walk" of the accused in handcuffs has been outlawed, and the accused are not photographed and pictured in the media until found guilty in court.

"When we saw DSK not even being proved guilty until now with the handcuffs, people were very shocked," French journalist Christian Malard said.

An informal poll in France shows that almost 60 percent of those surveyed believe that Strauss-Kahn was set up by the maid, as part of a conspiracy to ruin his political career. .

Srauss-Kahn is a leading member of the Socialist Party of France, the main left-wing political opposition to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right UMP party. .

Although he has yet to commit to run in the next French presidential elections in November 2012, an April poll of likely French voters by Paris Match-Europe 1 had him leading current president Nicolas Sarkozy by 7 percentage points in a run-off election. .

Strauss-Kahn told Liberation a few weeks ago that he could see himself being set up for a "honey trap" to tarnish his reputation ahead of the election in 2012. .

He said his opponents would attack his "money, women and Jewishness," in that order. He said at the time that his biggest challenge was fighting the public perception that he is a womanizer.

ABC News' Richard Esposito contributed to this report

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