Dominique Strauss-Kahn Faces His accuser in Paris!


Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn had a police-arranged meeting Thursday with the French writer who accuses him of a 2003 rape attempt, an allegation she repeated in the face-to-face session.

The encounter between Tristane Banon, 32, and Strauss-Kahn, 62, took place at a Paris police station as part of an investigation so that prosecutors can decide whether to bring charges.

Only police were present at the encounter, common in French justice when two people give a different version of events. One of Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers said both sides had stuck to their version of what happened.

“DSK stuck to his version of events, as did she,” lawyer Henri Leclerc said, using the politician’s initials, by which he is commonly known in France.

Asked whether his client had apologized, Leclerc said, “He has nothing to apologize for.”

Banon gave a television news interview late Thusday, saying that she had maintained her allegation that the one-time French presidential hopeful had lured her to a Paris apartment and violently tried to rape her.

“There was a rape attempt and I repeated that,” Banon told TF1 television.

“I had in front of me exactly the same Strauss-Kahn that I saw on television, with the same arrogance, the same coldness,” said Banon, who lodged a formal complaint against Strauss-Kahn in July.

She brought the charge after Strauss-Kahn was accused of attempting to rape a New York hotel maid, although charges related to that case were dropped after US prosecutors deemed the alleged victim unreliable.

“I thought he’d apologize at least for what he’s admitted to. I looked at him constantly, he didn’t dare look at me,” Banon said.

The Socialist politician denies attempted rape, says Banon’s allegation is imaginary and is suing her for defamation.

She said she did not feel hatred towards Strauss-Kahn, only contempt, and alleged that he was employing people to try to discredit her.

“I knew I’d be given a hard time, just as Nafissatou Diallo [the hotel maid] was in the United States,” she said.

“In what kind of country do you attack my lawyer, my childhood, my family, my father in order to explain that I wasn’t the victim of an attempted rape?”

Banon also poured scorn on Strauss-Kahn’s attempt to get a civil case brought by Diallo in New York dismissed, claiming diplomatic immunity as a former chief of the International Monetary Fund.

“That’s just like him,” she said. “I ask myself why would an innocent man need immunity? If I was wrongly accused of something I wouldn’t need diplomatic immunity.

“What does diplomatic immunity mean? That you have the right to attack women, to try to rape them, to rape them?”

Thursday’s meeting could bring investigations to a close, after which the prosecutor could decide that there’s no case, or that the alleged crime happened too long ago or that a prosecution is warranted.

Banon’s complaint is for attempted rape rather than sexual assault or harassment. If the prosecutor decides to downgrade the charge, Strauss-Kahn would be protected by a statute of limitations on the lesser crimes.

Banon has said that she will bring a civil suit if there is no criminal prosecution.

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