Allegations of prior sexual attacks have come to light today against IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, just as he prepares to be arraigned in Manhattan for sexually assaulting a maid in his $3,000-a-night room at the Sofitel in Midtown. Strauss-Kahn, widely regarded as the favored candidate to replace French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has already been picked out of the lineup by his accuser and submitted to a DNA test at the Manhattan Special Victims Unit in East Harlem. Now the 62-year-old diplomat, nicknamed both "The Great Seducer" and "Hot Rabbit," is facing accusations from within his own Socialist party.
Anne Mansouret, a local official, says Strauss-Kahn attacked her daughter, French TV reporter Tristane Banon, when she interviewed him in 2002. Banon, who was then in her twenties and goddaughter to Strauss-Kahn's second wife, was trying to interview the diplomat for a book she was writing. She spoke about the sexual attack on TV in 2007, describing Strauss-Kahn as a "rutting chimpanzee," but his name was bleeped out.
In the TV segment Banon alleges that she was forced to fight him off during the attack:
"It finished badly very violently I kicked him," Banon said. "When we were fighting, I mentioned the word 'rape' to make him afraid, but it didn't have any effect. I managed to get out."
After consulting with a lawyer, Banon chose not to press charges because, "I didn't want to be known to the end of my days as the girl who had a problem with the politician." Mansouret said last night that she helped persuade her daughter not to file charges because of their ties to Strauss-Kahn's family and because she believed it was out of character for the political leader. Yesterday Mansouret said, "Today I am sorry to have discouraged my daughter from complaining. I bear a heavy responsibility," she said.
More details have also emerged about the hotel maid whom Strauss-Kahn allegedly chased down a hallway naked, pulled into a bedroom, forced to perform oral sex, and then locked in a bathroom. A co-worker described the woman as a single mother of African descent, saying, "She's well-mannered, quiet. It's crazy. It's horrible. Stuff like this shouldn't happen." Diplomatic immunity applies only during official duties, so Strauss-Kahn faces charges of criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. Since Law & Order is off the air, and The Good Wife already tackled a similar arc during it's "ripped from the headlines" rendition of allegations against Al Gore, it looks like the small-screen version is still up for grabs.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces further claim of sexual assault [Guardian UK]
New Details in IMF Sex Case [WSJ]
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, accused of sexually assaulting hotel maid, consents to DNA testing [NYDN]
Police Seek Evidence From I.M.F. Chief on Sex Attack [NYT]
Whiny IMF head finally agrees to medical exam; set for arraignment today [NYP]
Earlier: IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn Arrested for Sexual Assault in New York