Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Khan arrived at a New York court building on Thursday for a bail hearing over charges of sexual assault. His lawyers have asked that he be placed under 24-hour house arrest and have offered $1 million in bail.
AFP - Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was back in court Thursday pleading to be released on bail from a gritty New York jail, just hours after quitting as head of the world body to fight sex charges.
Strauss-Kahn vowed in his letter of resignation as head of the International Monetary Fund that he would battle to clear his name after being charged with seven counts of sexual assault, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.
"I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me," said Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested on Saturday shortly after the alleged assault of a chambermaid in a luxury Manhattan hotel.
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Paying tribute to his American-born wife, top journalist Anne Sinclair, who he said he loved more than anything, the veteran French politician said it was with "infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present... my resignation."
"I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence," said Strauss-Kahn, who before the scandal broke was considered a top contender to be the next president of France.
A police official confirmed to AFP that he had arrived at the New York supreme court complex Thursday and was awaiting to appear at the bail hearing due at 2:15 pm (1815 GMT) on the 13th floor of the courthouse.
Defense lawyers said Strauss-Kahn would put up $1 million in bail, surrender all his travel documents and submit to 24 hour electronic monitoring.
He would also agree to be confined round-the-clock in a New York apartment, most likely the home of his daughter who lives in the city.
His lawyers were also expected to tout his wife's American credentials before judge Michael Obus, hoping to free him from Rikers Island jail.
The New York jail is a chaotic maze of holding cells filled with thousands of defendants who either can't afford bail or who, like Strauss-Kahn, are deemed a flight risk and have had their bail application denied.
The complex, which sits on a 400-acre (1,650 kilometer) island on the East River near LaGuardia airport between Queens and the Bronx, can house more than 20,000 detainees and staff at a time.
Strauss-Kahn was refused bail in his first court hearing Monday, after a different judge deemed him a flight risk, and he has now spent three nights in the notorious jail in isolation and on suicide watch.
"These additional bail conditions eliminate any concern that Mr Strauss-Kahn would or could leave this court's jurisdiction," attorney Shawn Naunton wrote in the bail application.
Strauss-Kahn is behind bars awaiting a grand jury decision on whether to indict him on the charges brought by the 32-year-old chambermaid, who is originally from Guinea.
Her lawyer, Jeff Shapiro, said his client, who has so far not been identified, was "alarmed" at the prospect of her alleged attacker leaving jail.
"The idea that this man would somehow or another be on the streets and free, I'm sure it would cause her a great deal of concern," he told CNN Wednesday. "She's very concerned about her security."
The chambermaid, who has a 15-year-old daughter, on Wednesday appeared before the grand jury that must decide if there is enough evidence to go to trial.
She alleges that Strauss-Kahn groped and mauled her in his room in the posh Sofitel hotel in Times Square and forcibly tried to have oral sex with her.
Police have taken away a section of a rug from the luxury suite which reportedly contains evidence of bodily fluids hoping to gain DNA evidence from the scene.
But Strauss-Kahn's lawyer Benjamin Brafman has said the evidence "will not be consistent with a forcible encounter," and New York media reports quoted a source close to the defense as saying "there may well have been consent."
Strauss-Kahn's resignation paves the way for the IMF to elect a new managing director as it steers delicate negotiations on the eurozone debt crisis.
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is the front-runner to succeed him and become the first woman to head the IMF, but emerging economic powers have called for an end to Europe's virtual monopoly on the world lender's top post.
Lagarde on Thursday said Europe should unite behind a single candidate.
"Any candidacy, whoever's it may be, should come from the Europeans, who unite, all together," she told reporters in Paris.
China however has said that "newly emerging markets and developing countries should be represented in the top leadership," echoing similar calls from South Africa and Brazil.
Date created : 2011-05-19