Appearing on French TV channel TF1's Sunday night newscast — normally watched by several million of his countrymen — Dominique Strauss-Kahn made his first public comments about what happened between him and housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo in Suite 2806 of the New York Sofitel hotel on May 14.
A lot of people have discussed this incident. Except me. [...] What happened involved neither violence, nor coercion, nor aggression, nor any criminal act. That's what the prosecutor said, not me. What happened was not only inappropriate but a mistake. It is a moral error that I am not proud of. I believe I am not done regretting it.
Returning to the prosecutor's report, which he appeared to be brandishing before the cameras, he added that there were "no scratches or injuries, no signs of violence" on Diallo's body. He also resurrected early allegations by some of his allies that the sexual assault claims were part of a plot to damage his presidential prospects, with many suggesting and implying the involvement of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose popularity has been slipping for some time now.
A trap? It's possible. A conspiracy? We shall see. I wonder why they chose to help she who accused me and not cooperate with me.
He also made clear that he had no plans to settle in the civil suit Diallo has brought against him in Bronx court. "There is no longer any charge that can stick." (DSK even gave a little peak into what his possible criminal defense strategy may have been: "They said I wanted to escape, yet I had lunch with my daughter.")
DSK then turned to the other sexual assault case he is facing, brought by French writer Tristane Banon, which is currently in the hands of a French special prosecutor investigating the charges. He called her accusations "imaginary."
I have told the truth about that encounter, there was no act of aggression, no violence.
It may still take several weeks or months for the special prosecutor to decide whether there is enough evidence for charges to officially be filed against the former IMF managing director. As for DSK's political prospects, he made it clear that he would "obviously not" be entering the presidential fray. He did not, however, take any other future political moves off the table, even with a majority of the French saying he should bow out of politics for good.
Closing off the telecast, DSK decided to play the sympathy card, possibly even making a dig at the American authorities and press in the process.
I was afraid, I was very afraid. I was trampled and humiliated before I could even say a word.
Maybe not the juicy details we had hoped for, but there you have it, the man at the center of it all finally speaks his part.
DSK speaks at 8 pm [TF1]
DSK: "I was very afraid" [Europe1]
DSK: "I missed my date with the French people." [Le Parisien]
DSK calls writer's rape claims "imaginary" [CBS News]
Strauss-Kahn to give TV interview after assault case [Reuters]