US & Canada

Strauss-Kahn arrest: IMF boss faces new bail hearing

NYPD prisoner movement slip for IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Image caption Dominique Strauss-Kahn was denied bail at a hearing on Monday

International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will make a new plea for bail at a court hearing on Thursday morning, his lawyer says.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, faces a number of charges in the alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in New York and was denied bail on Monday.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, on suicide watch at New York's infamous Rikers Island prison, denies all the charges.

The maid, 32, has said she is "scared" but will testify against him.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said the new bail hearing would be in Manhattan on Thursday morning.

The IMF chief faces charges of committing a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

On Monday a judge in New York denied Mr Strauss-Kahn bail - despite the offer of a $1m (£618,000) guarantee - saying there was a risk the IMF chief would flee the country.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in New York says the defence will offer a new package that they hope will convince the judge that Mr Strauss-Kahn will not try to flee while he prepares his defence.

That could include Mr Strauss-Kahn offering to wear an electronic ankle tag, surrendering his passport and living under very restrictive conditions, our correspondent says.

'Scared and incredulous'

Earlier on Wednesday the maid's lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro, said that his client feared for herself and her daughter when she discovered Mr Strauss-Kahn's identity a day after the incident on 14 May.

He said she had only become aware of Mr Strauss-Kahn's identity "a day later when a friend called her to tell her, 'do you have any idea who this man is who did this to you?'".

Mr Shapiro said his client was "scared and incredulous".

"When she found out this encounter was with a man of great power and wealth she feared not only for herself but more importantly for her daughter."

The woman had now been reunited with her 15-year-old daughter in a "safe place", he added.

Mr Shapiro said she had tried to return to her home - a sub-let flat in the Bronx - but had found about 30 people waiting outside.

He said: "She has been in a whirlwind since this has taken place... She has not had a moment of peace, has not been able to return home or seek help.

"She doesn't know what her future will bring."

Carpet examined

Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said on Monday that the defence believes the forensic evidence "will not be consistent with a forcible encounter".

Image caption Mr Strauss-Kahn has been put on suicide watch at Rikers Island prison

However, Mr Shapiro said there was "nothing consensual about what took place in that hotel room" in New York.

Police have removed a piece of carpet from the Sofitel hotel, in search of evidence to support the maid's allegation she was forced into an act of oral sex.

Mr Shapiro told NBC television that his client was expected to testify before a grand jury later on Wednesday.

The maid, from the West African nation of Guinea, told police that when she entered the hotel room, Mr Strauss-Kahn came out of the bathroom naked, chased her down and sexually assaulted her before she broke free and fled.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, one of France's most high-profile politicians, has been seen as a front-runner in next year's presidential elections. His arrest has shocked France.

His wife, former French TV interviewer Anne Sinclair, is thought to be visiting him in the next two days.

Public opinion in France appears still to be backing Mr Strauss-Kahn, with polls suggesting many people believe he was the victim of a conspiracy - an accusation strongly denied by the accuser's lawyer, Mr Shapiro.

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