Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief charged with sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a hotel housekeeper, may have spent his last night in jail on Rikers Island after a judge said he can go free on bail while awaiting trial.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, who was granted bail yesterday after his fifth night in custody, will be released when he meets the requirements set by the court, said William Taylor, his lawyer. Taylor said he thought Strauss-Kahn would be able to leave the prison today.
The bail conditions imposed by New York state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus include posting $1 million in cash and a $5 million insurance bond. He must wear an electronic monitor and have an armed guard at all times. He won’t be able to leave his residence except for legal, medical and religious purposes.
“Money alone is not going to be sufficient to give us the assurance we need to have,” Obus said at yesterday’s bail hearing in Manhattan. “Primarily these other conditions that I am setting will simply make it impossible for the defendant to leave, which is really what I am concerned with.”
Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody May 14 on an Air France flight minutes before it was scheduled to leave John F. Kennedy International Airport. Two days later, the French national was remanded to Rikers Island, New York’s main jail complex, after a judge agreed with prosecutors that he might flee.
In the indictment filed yesterday, Strauss-Kahn is charged with seven counts including criminal sex acts, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. While he has denied the accusations, he hasn’t entered a formal plea to any of the charges. He’s scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on June 6.
Strauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a housekeeper at the Sofitel hotel in Midtown Manhattan on May 14. He allegedly closed the door of the room to keep the woman from leaving, grabbed her breasts and tried to pull down her pantyhose, according to court papers. He also forced her to perform oral sex, prosecutors said. The maid escaped and later picked Strauss-Kahn out of a lineup, police said.
“Under American law, these are extremely serious charges,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. told reporters after yesterday’s hearing. “He will receive all the protection available in our justice system.”
Prosecutors said Strauss-Kahn faces as long as 25 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.
Jeffrey Shapiro, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, who hasn’t been publicly identified, didn’t return a call seeking comment after the bail ruling. Earlier yesterday, he said his client was “very concerned about the idea that this man would be free.”
At the hearing, Taylor said his client would live with his wife, Anne Sinclair, in New York under video surveillance and armed guard. Under the terms set out, Strauss-Kahn would have a limited number of visitors. Sinclair rented an apartment in Manhattan where she and her husband would stay, the defense told the judge.
Strauss-Kahn has been married for more than 10 years to Sinclair, a French television journalist. She and Strauss-Kahn’s daughter, Camille Strauss-Kahn, attended yesterday’s hearing and left the courthouse without speaking to the throng of reporters outside.
Living in Washington
Strauss-Kahn and his wife have lived in Washington since November 2007, when he was named managing director of the IMF, according to a court filing.
He informed the executive board of the IMF of his intention to resign as managing director effective immediately, the IMF said in a statement dated May 18.
Prosecutors opposed the bail application, saying that France doesn’t extradite its citizens. They also argued that Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, has extensive contacts and resources.
“The proof against him is substantial,” Assistant District Attorney John McConnell said at yesterday’s hearing. “It is continuing to grow every day.”
Defense lawyers said Strauss-Kahn was prepared to surrender all his travel documents and pledged not to fight extradition.
“The idea that he would attempt to live the rest of his life as an accused sex offender in France, as a fugitive, is ridiculous,” Taylor said.
According to a proposal prepared by Stroz Friedberg, a private security company, and submitted by the defense, Strauss- Kahn would wear a personal tracking device on his ankle and his movements would be monitored 24 hours a day. The company said it would investigate all alarms from the device. The company said it would notify authorities of any suspicious activity or attempt to flee.
Taylor said the defense had retained Stroz Friedberg, which was recommended of the district attorney’s office. The company monitored the home detention of Bernard Madoff before he went to prison for running a Ponzi scheme.
Strauss-Kahn would be accompanied by Stroz Friedberg for court-authorized travel. The company would report on his activities, visitors and travel as required by the court.
McConnell said the monitoring could cost more than $200,000 a month. He also said a single guard may not be enough.
“We are very relieved and very happy and now we can focus on some other aspects of the case,” Taylor told reporters after yesterday’s hearing.
The case is People v. Strauss-Kahn, 1225782, Criminal Court of the City of New York (New York County).
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