NEW YORK – The head of the International Monetary Fund must remain jailed at least until Friday, the day of his next court hearing for attempted rape and other charges, a judge ruled Monday.
A haggard, unshaven and grim-looking Dominique Strauss-Kahn made his first court appearance in the sex-assault case. Strauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a maid who went in to clean his penthouse suite Saturday at a luxury hotel near Times Square. He is charged with attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. The top count is punishable by five to 25 years in prison.
The charges stunned the global financial world and upended French presidential politics. Strauss-Kahn, a member of France’s Socialist Party, was widely considered the strongest potential challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy next year.
Manhattan prosecutors asked the judge to hold Strauss-Kahn without bail, saying his position as IMF head had taken him out of the country previously and that the IMF leader was wealthy and doesn’t live in New York.
“He has almost no incentive to stay in this country and every incentive to leave,” Assistant District Attorney John A. McConnell said. “If he went to France, we would have no legal mechanism to guarantee his return to this country.”
Defense attorneys had suggested bail be set at $1 million and promised the IMF managing director would remain in New York City.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for a 31-year-old French novelist said she was likely to file a criminal complaint accusing Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her nine years ago.
A rival lawmaker also alleged, without offering evidence, that the potential French Socialist presidential candidate had victimized several maids during past stays at the luxury Sofitel hotel near Times Square.
McConnell, the prosecutor, said in court Monday that New York authorities are investigating at least one similar case.