This morning, around 8:30 a.m. Paris time, French writer Tristane Banon arrived at a Paris police station, where she was set to meet face-to-face with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the man she has accused of raping her. "The police asked me if I would accept the confrontation," Banon told French radio a few days ago. "I said of course I would. I want him to be in front of me and for him to look me in the eyes and tell me this is all in my imagination. I'd like to see him tell me that." An AFP reporter on the scene today says the former IMF managing director arrived half an hour after his accuser, the two finally sitting down a little before noon — sans lawyers, though police officers were present. Two and a half hours later, they parted ways, neither one making statements to the press waiting outside the station.
Banon's lawyer, David Koubbi, reached while his client and DSK were mid-session, said that the meeting had been long overdue, and wondered whether it was due to the appointment of a new special prosecutor, after the previous one, Jean-Claude Marin, got promoted two weeks ago. Koubbi expected DSK to be "tripped up because he's presented two irreconcilable versions: in saying that everything went normally and mentioning imaginary events and in admitting" — as he did a few weeks ago to police — "elsewhere that he had tried to kiss her." (French magazine L'Express reported that DSK admitted to "making a pass" and trying to kiss Banon.) One of DSK's lawyers, speaking after the meeting, confirmed that both parties had stuck to their stories, adding, as DSK's lawyers have maintained throughout: "He has no reason to apologize."
While nothing much seems to have been accomplished with today's face-off — certainly no chummy reconciliation — French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur says this is likely one of the very last steps before the special prosecutor decides whether there is enough evidence to go to trial or not — a litmus test peculiar to the French system. Add to that charges filed in Bronx court by Sofitel housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo and we may be looking at two DSK trials in the coming months. Then again, depending on the French prosecutor's decision and a judge's ruling on DSK's motion to dismiss Diallo's case, maybe we'll end up with none.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn confronted by rape accuser Banon [BBC]
DSK and Tristane Banon "maintained their versions of events" [Le Nouvel Observateur]
Related: DSK to Meet With French Accuser