Free on a $1 million bail and under house arrest in Manhattan, ex-IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is seeking "crisis management" advice from a team staffed by ex CIA officers. Read the latest updates below. Plus:
- Cheryl Thomas says Strauss-Kahn's case is already a victory for the U.S. legal system.
- Mansfield Frazier to Strauss-Kahn: Don't flee prison.
- DSK arrest leaves his French supporters in despair, Paris-based writer Nina Sutton reports. “Money, women, and my Jewishness,” DSK said were his liabilities with French voters. “Yes, I love women, so what?”
- Michelle Goldberg on the narcissists defending Strauss-Kahn.
- Bernard-Henri Lévy defends his friend: Don't assume he's guilty! (Plus, read Laila Lalami's satire of Lévy's column here.)
- Former TV producer Joe Halderman, who was also jailed at Rikers Island after he pleaded guilty to blackmailing David Letterman, describes the IMF chief's new life under lockdown.
- The Dish's Andrew Sullivan on the false moral certainty of defending Strauss-Kahn.
Strauss-Kahn Consults Firm Staffed by Ex-CIA
The former IMF chief has consulted with a Washington consulting firm staffed by ex-CIA agents and U.S. diplomats for public relations advice following his arrest for sexual assualt. Strauss-Kahn previously hired the firm, TD International, in 2007 to help advise him while he lobbied for his position at the helm of the IMF. A source familiar with TD International said Strauss-Kahn contacted the firm “informally” after his arrest, and should he hire them formally, the firm would engage in “crisis management.” In addition to the advice TD International provided in 2007, they also introduced Strauss-Kahn to influential journalists at the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. TD International has two former diplomats and two former CIA agents in its staff rooster.
Strauss-Kahn Indicted, but Free on Bail
During a bail hearing in Manhattan Thursday afternoon, Dominque Strauss-Kahn was indicted by a grand jury on unknown charges related to allegations of sexual assault. He was, however, freed on $1 million bail. As part of the bail agreement, Strauss-Kahn, 62, will be under 24-hour house arrest and will be watched by an armed guard at all times as well as electronically monitored. Strauss-Kahn’s wife and daughter were present at the hearing. The economist, who has been accused of several crimes against a hotel maid, including rape, has maintained his innocence.
Gallery: Famous Rikers Inmates
Madam: Strauss-Kahn Paid for Sex
The hits keep coming. Kristin Davis—the self-proclaimed former madam famous for allegedly supplying escorts to former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer—says Dominique Strauss-Kahn also used her services. Strauss-Kahn, who was head of the International Monetary Fund until resigning Wednesday, is being held in New York on charges including attempted rape. Davis says that in January 2006, before he took the IMF gig, Strauss-Kahn shelled out $2,400 for two hours with an “all-American girl.” She also claims that Strauss-Kahn again requested a prostitute during a September 2006 trip to New York for a conference organized by Bill Clinton.
Strauss-Kahn: I Quit
It must have been hard running the International Monetary Fund from Rikers Island. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned from his post as managing director of the IMF, effective immediately. In a letter addressed to the IMF's board, the embattled French economist said he was quitting "with infinite sadness," but still denied "with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me." He continued: "I want to protect the institution which I have served with honor and devotion." Read the full statement here.
Lagarde Favored as New IMF Head
Even before his official resignation, the race to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the helm of the International Monetary Fund had already begun. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is considered the favorite to take over Strauss-Kahn’s spot as he battles charges of sexual assault. The former head of a Chicago law firm who lived in the U.S. for 25 years, Lagarde is favored by Europeans who desperately want to keep the post—they have controlled the IMF since it was created in the 1940s. Although one of the biggest drawbacks for Lagarde is her nationality—she is French, like Strauss-Kahn—many applaud the idea of a woman being one of the most powerful people in the world. “What’s happened with Strauss-Kahn underscores how great it would be to have a woman in the role,” said former IMF chief economist Kenneth S. Rogoff.
Police Look for DNA in Hotel Carpet
Police cut out a piece of carpet from a hotel room to look for DNA evidence in the attempted rape case against IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Officials say that the carpet may contain Strauss-Kahn’s semen spat onto the carpet after forced oral sex, which would back up the accuser’s story. Defense lawyers for Strauss-Kahn have said that they believe forensic evidence “will not be consistent with a forcible encounter.” Police also planned to examine the accuser’s key card to see if it had been used to enter the room, and how long she was there. NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said detectives had established the accuser’s credibility. He said, “One of the things they’re trained to look for, and what was reported to me early on, was that the complainant was credible.”
Allegation: Strauss-Kahn Assaulted Maid in Mexico
It just keeps getting worse for IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who’s being held in New York on charges including attempted rape. In addition to Tristane Banon, a French journalist who in 2007 claimed Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her, a Mexican newspaper reports that he allegedly assaulted a maid in Mexico, too, although the incident was never reported. The report is based on a book on Strauss-Kahn, and says that the assault happened during a working trip to Mexico. In addition, it alleges that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted another 14 women.
The Narcissists Defending DSK
The aftermath of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal puts the discreet French approach to the private lives of celebrities and public figures in a different light, says The Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg. In the case of Strauss-Kahn, the apologist view that the IMF chief should be treated as innocent by American justice officials only enables powerful men to prey on powerless women. She blasts French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and his “monstrous sense of entitlement,” for a piece he wrote for The Daily Beast in which he defends the IMF chief. Goldberg argues that the U.S. criminal system is doing exactly what it should do—treating Strauss-Kahn in the same manner it would treat anyone. But the American media is not without blame: Goldberg criticizes the U.S. for glomming onto the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s out-of-wedlock child, while letting his history of sexual harassment have little negative effect on his life in Hollywood and politics.
The Bernard-Henri Lévy Controversy
In a story published on The Daily Beast, prominent French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy lamented that Strauss-Kahn has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, and expressed anger that he was thrown under the bus by his fellow French politicians, who branded him a “scoundrel.” One particular passage in Lévy’s story has caused controversy in the media:
I do not know—but, on the other hand, it would be nice to know, and without delay—how a chambermaid could have walked in alone, contrary to the habitual practice of most of New York’s grand hotels of sending a “cleaning brigade” of two people, into the room of one of the most closely watched figures on the planet.
By questioning the accuser’s account of the event, The Washington Post claimed that Lévy was transferring blame to the victim, writing, “The French philosopher seems to suggest the possibility that the chambermaid made a mistake by going to the hotel room alone. What a quick attempt to cast suspicion on a possible rape victim.” The Post’s Melissa Bell ultimately wrote that his entire piece “smacks of sexism.”
Critics continue to pile on. The Daily Beast's Laila Lalami wrote a satire of Lévy's column. "I do not know what actually happened Monday, the day before yesterday, inside the head of Bernard-Henri Lévy," Lalami writes. "I am troubled by a public figure, modestly termed 'a leading French intellectual,' meaning that he gets to decide who should be held responsible for alleged sex crimes."
French Supporters in Despair
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the man many French citizens hoped would rid them of the despised President Nicolas Sarkozy. Paris-based writer Nina Sutton describes the despair of those DSK supporters—and their suspicions that he may have gotten caught in a honey trap.
The Maid, the Author, and the Student
The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey pinpointed three women who will prove vital in Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s attempted rape case. First, the alleged victim, who is believed to be a 33-year-old African immigrant and single mother who, according to Sofitel management, worked at the hotel for three years and was an exemplary employee. Some accounts claim she is Muslim and normally wears a headscarf, and, while lawyers for Strauss-Kahn said they were surprised her face was “not very seductive,” the French tabloid France-Soir interviewed a limo driver who works with the hotel, who said the housekeeper “was a very pretty woman in her thirties, with big breasts and a beautiful rear.” The second woman is Tristane Banon, who was a fledgling 22-year-old writer interviewing celebrities for her book Admitted Mistakes, back in 2002, when she alleged Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her. She talked about the incident on a French talk show called 93, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in 2007, saying, “It went very badly with [bleep],” half laughing as she compared him to a “rutting chimpanzee.” And last but not least, there is Camille Strauss-Kahn—the daughter of Strauss-Kahn who has been studying at Columbia University. Although her lunch with her father on Saturday after the rape may not prove to be an alibi, a source close to the former IMF chief’s lawyers maintains that his calm demeanor during the meal was “not really the behavior of a man who has just tried to rape someone.” Banon’s lawyers say she is now preparing to file a complaint, while Camille may be put on the stand.
Hotel Security Tricked Stauss-Kahn Into Giving His Location
Early reports about the arrest mentioned that Strauss-Kahn had left behind a cell phone that helped give him up. Now we know how: after leaving the hotel, he called and inquired about his missing phone, The Wall Street Journal reports. Hotel security lied and told Strauss-Kahn they had the phone and asked for a location where they could meet him to return it. When Strauss-Kahn told them he was at JFK airport, they tipped off the police, who swooped in and made the arrest.