Dominique Strauss-Kahn rues New York hotel maid liaison
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has described his liaison with a hotel maid in New York, over which he was charged with attempted rape, as "inappropriate".
In his first TV interview since charges were dropped, the ex-IMF chief said he regretted the affair had lost him his chance to stand for French president, but denied using violence.
He said he had been afraid and humiliated by the US justice system.
Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, resigned as IMF chief in May after his arrest.
The maid, Nafissatou Diallo, is bringing a civil suit against him.
The criminal charges were dropped in August when prosecutors said Ms Diallo's lack of credibility meant the case could not continue.'Missed appointment'
Mr Strauss-Kahn was questioned by Claire Chazal, a friend of his wife Anne Sinclair, on the main Sunday night bulletin of France's TF1 - watched by a huge audience.
"What happened was more than an inappropriate relationship. It was an error," he said, adding that he regretted it infinitely.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn had waited a fortnight to give his side of the story. "Everyone has had their chance", he said, "except me."
He brought with him a copy of the New York prosecutor's report. "There was neither violence nor coercion nor aggression or any criminal act," he said. "Neither scratches or injuries, no sign of violence. Not my words but the words of the prosecutor."
Since his return to France, a team of lawyers and advisers have been heavily involved in the negotiations for this interview. But scripted or not, there was an apology to the French people and his family.
This was a very astute politician who wanted to present himself as a victim.
In all it was a polished performance from a politician who has had plenty of time to consider the questions he might be asked.
The reaction in the coming days from his party and the public will tell us whether there is sympathy with that position and whether ultimately his rehabilitation is possible.
"I think it was a moral failing and I am not proud of it," he told Ms Chazal.
He said the incident had caused him to miss his "appointment with the French people", referring to his desire to be a Socialist candidate in France's 2012 presidential elections.
Before his arrest, he had been expected to be a strong contender to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy.
He said he could "obviously" no longer be a candidate and would play no part in the forthcoming Socialist primaries.
He would now "take time to reflect" on his future, he added.
He said the sexual encounter "did not involve violence, constraint or aggression" and that Ms Diallo had lied, but he had no intention of negotiating with her in her civil case.
But he reserved his harshest words for the US criminal justice system.
"I was afraid, very afraid," he said, "and I was humiliated, trampled before I could even utter a word."
In addition to the New York case, Mr Strauss-Kahn faces an allegation by French author Tristane Banon that he tried to rape her in 2003.
But the former IMF chief said that Ms Banon's accusations were imaginary, adding that there was "no violence". He is suing for defamation.
He was interviewed by French police last week.