Strauss-Kahn to give 1st TV interview since arrest

PARIS — Dominique Strauss-Kahn was expected to break his silence Sunday and speak out in a highly anticipated interview with French TV — his first since his May arrest over allegations he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid.

By (AP)

Published: Sun 18 Sep 2011, 9:34 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:50 AM

The interview Sunday on the TF1 channel’s nightly newscast was widely expected to draw a record audience, and French media was abuzz with speculation over whether the former International Monetary Fund chief would answer questions about the May 14 incident at New York’s Sofitel hotel.

Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper cited unnamed sources close to Strauss-Kahn — a Socialist politician who had been considered a top contender in next year’s presidential race — as saying he wouldn’t speak about the Sofitel incident.

Strauss-Kahn denied the allegations, and New York prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against him last month, though he’s still facing a lawsuit brought by Guinean maid Nafissatou Diallo.

Her lawyers have called on Strauss-Kahn to explain his version of their encounter during the interview Sunday, saying the public deserves to hear him ‘answer pointed questions about his conduct.’

In a statement Friday, attorneys Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor expressed doubts about the impartiality of the interview, which will be conducted by TV anchor Claire Chazal, a friend of Strauss-Kahn’s wife Anne Sinclair, a former TF1 anchor.

It appeared unlikely Strauss-Kahn would address his other pending legal imbroglio, over accusations by a French writer that he tried to rape her during a 2003 interview.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers initially dismissed Tristane Banon’s allegations as ‘imaginary,’ but a report posted Friday on the website of newsweekly L’Express cited unnamed sources as saying that Strauss-Kahn acknowledged to French investigators having tried to kiss Banon. She rebuffed his advances and left, he told investigators, according to the report.

Banon, on the other hand, has described a much more violent encounter. She has said Strauss-Kahn grabbed her hand and arm before the two fell to the floor of the empty apartment where the interview was taking place and fought for several minutes, with the politician trying to open her jeans and bra and putting his fingers in her mouth and underwear.

Following the police probe into Banon’s accusations, the Paris prosecutor’s office could decide to drop the case or pursue the investigation, which could eventually lead to a trial.

The AP does not name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they agree to be identified or come forward publicly, as Diallo and Banon have done.

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