NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — He’s one of the most powerful men in the world, but Monday night Dominique Strauss-Khan was locked in a tiny an 11 x 13 foot Riker’s Island Jail cell with just a bed, toilet, sink and plastic cup.
The International Monetary Fund Director pleaded not guilty at Manhattan Criminal Court Monday at his arraignment. He is accused of trying to rape a housekeeper at a luxury hotel in Midtown.
Judge Melissa Jackson ordered Strauss-Kahn, 62, to be held without bail pending a grand jury investigation into the charges — which include 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.
Kahn stands accused of sexually assaulting a housekeeper at the Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan.
A 32-year-old hotel worker told police she went in to clean what she thought was an empty, $3,000-a-night luxury suite. Police say the woman claims Strauss-Kahn came out of the bathroom naked.
According to the criminal complaint, Strauss-Kahn forcibly grabbed the woman’s breasts, attempted to pull down her pantyhouse and fondle her, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported. Police say the woman told them he chased her down a hallway before dragging her into a bedroom. The woman told police he sexually assaulted her there, but she managed to fight him off.
However, the woman claims he then dragged her into the bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex on him. He tried, according to the woman, to remove her underwear. She managed to break free, and reported the incident to hotel staff.
The man who the French call “the great seducer” was questioned for hours by investigators and picked out of a lineup by his accuser.
In court Monday, Strauss-Kahn wore a blue shirt open at the collar. He appeared to have a faint stubble and kept a grim demeanor. Defense attorneys had suggested bail be set at $1 million and promised the IMF managing director would remain in New York City.
However, citing that Strauss-Khan could be a potential flight risk, prosecutors likened him to Roman Polanski, who lives comfortably in Europe after facing sex charges in California.
Prosecutors said Strauss-Kahn’s 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.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Defense Attorneys Deny Strauss-Kahn Is A Flight Risk
“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.”
Strauss-Kahn heads the IMF, which oversees the global financial system and plays a central role in setting global exchange rates. He was widely seen as a frontrunner in the upcoming election for the French presidency.
Since his arrest, the IMF has appointed an interim chief.
Detectives arrived at the hotel room quickly, but he was already gone, but found Strauss-Kahn’s cellphone there. An NYPD spokesman said “It looked like he got out of there in a hurry.”
Police told hotel employees what to say in the event Strauss-Kahn should call for his phone. Sure enough, he did call the hotel and ask after the phone. They said they had it and he could come collect it. That’s when he told them he was about to take off on a flight to France, authorities say.
Police hauled him off an Air France jet at Kennedy Airport 10 minutes before takeoff.
Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman says it’s wildly inconsistent to suggest that he was fleeing the country, since his client wouldn’t very well call the hotel and tell them where he was if he was trying to flee.
“This battle has just begun. We believe and will prove in our judgement Mr. Strauss-Kahn is innocent of these charges. We think this case is very defensible,” Brafman said.
After Kahn’s arrest, the French Socialist Party released a statement.
“The news from New York tonight struck us like a thunder bolt. I am, like everyone else, shocked, astounded. I ask that we wait for the facts, respect the presumption of innocence and maintain decency,” the party said.
A woman in France who claims she was sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn nine years ago says she will now pursue a complaint against him, according to her attorney.
Tristane Banon didn’t file suit earlier owing to pressure, her attorney David Koubbi said.
Three years ago, the married father of four admitted to an affair with a younger co-worker.
His wife Anne Sinclair, a New York-born French news reporter, stood by him then and now released a statement.
“I do not believe for a single second the allegations leveled against my husband. I do not doubt his innocence will be established. I appeal for restraint and decency,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair since jumped on a plane to come to New York to support her husband.
What’s your reaction to the allegation that one of the world’s top bankers tried to assault a hotel maid? Sound off in our comments section below…