Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was released from jail on Rikers Island and taken to a downtown Manhattan residence, where he will be under 24-hour private armed guard.
“Inmate Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been discharged from the custody of the NYC Department of Correction to the custody of the security company, Stroz Friedberg,” Sharman Stein, a spokeswoman for the department, said yesterday in an e-mail. “Mr. Strauss-Kahn is no longer on Rikers Island.”
New York state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus signed the release order yesterday. Strauss-Kahn, accused of sexual assault and attempted rape of a hotel housekeeper, will spend the next few days in housing near the former site of the World Trade Center after an Upper East Side apartment fell through, prosecutors said yesterday at a state court hearing.
Strauss-Kahn paid $1 million to the court as part of his bail agreement. He also posted a $5 million bond as a guarantee that he will appear for trial. The bond is secured by cash from the defendant’s wife, Anne Sinclair, said Ira Judelson, the bail bondsman.
Erin Duggan, chief spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., declined to comment.
Guards, Electronic Monitors
Strauss-Kahn, 62, was granted bail on condition that he pay the cash, post the bond and agree to home detention under armed guard and electronic monitoring. Prosecutors have called the French national a flight risk. He was taken into custody May 14 on an Air France flight minutes before departure and had been confined to Rikers Island since May 16, except for court appearances.
The apartment where he originally planned to stay didn’t work out because of the overwhelming media presence at the Upper East Side building, said defense attorney William Taylor, who likened the situation to the throng of reporters who surrounded Bernard Madoff after he was arrested in a Ponzi scheme.
“It was a Madoff kind of circus,” Taylor said in an interview after the hearing. “The building made it known they didn’t want” Strauss-Kahn.
Strauss-Kahn was taken to a building with rental apartments at 71 Broadway, the New York Times reported, citing an unnamed source.
Assistant District Attorney John “Artie” McConnell told the judge at the hearing that prosecutors still believe Strauss-Kahn should remain in jail pending trial. McConnell also said he was concerned about using a temporary residence, which he said the security company told him was only available for three or four days.
‘Ring of Steel’
McConnell said the temporary apartment was located in downtown Manhattan, within what the police department refers to as the “ring of steel.” He said there’s construction nearby and at most one or two lanes of traffic.
“To throw what has become a very large media presence into the mix is really potentially crippling,” McConnell said. “They haven’t really thought about anything beyond Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s immediate needs.”
Taylor said in an interview that the temporary housing won’t have security cameras. Three security guards would be posted at the location, he said.
Obus said that the initial housing arrangements didn’t work out “perhaps in part as a result of all the media attention.”
“I trust the media will do what they need to do, to do their jobs without unduly interfering with the rest of the public in New York City,” the judge said.
Obus said that while Strauss-Kahn is in temporary housing, he isn’t permitted to leave except for a medical emergency. Once he is in more permanent housing, he will be able to make arrangements to leave escorted and with notice for court appearances, meetings with attorneys and religious observances.
The neighborhood where Strauss-Kahn, who resigned May 18 as managing director of the IMF, will reside comprises the southern tip of Manhattan. It contains City Hall, Wall Street and the site where the World Trade Center stood before it was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. The area is also home to police headquarters and state and federal courthouses.
Security measures installed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks include vehicle barriers, cameras, license-plate readers and radiation detectors throughout the district. Federal, state and city law enforcement personnel patrol the streets.
In an indictment filed May 19, Strauss-Kahn is charged with 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 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.
Jeffrey Shapiro, a lawyer for the alleged victim, declined to comment yesterday about Strauss-Kahn’s release, saying he had not spoken to his client yet.
The case is People v. Strauss-Kahn, 2526/11, Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County (Manhattan).