Dominique Strauss-Kahn: What's next for the jailed French presidential hopeful?
International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in federal court Monday.
May 17th, 2011
11:21 AM ET

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: What's next for the jailed French presidential hopeful?

For the head of the powerful International Monetary Fund, and presumptive front-runner for the presidency of France, the next few days and weeks likely will bring dramatic change and impact his life both professionally and personally.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who had been scheduled to have talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and was preparing to be a leading figure in sessions addressing economic crises in Greece, Portugal and Ireland before his arrest, will now be somewhere very different: in an 11-by-13-foot cell at New York's Rikers Island jail complex.

He's a man known for his economic prowess, but also as "a great seducer" - a politician whose relationships with women have landed him in trouble.

And as he sits in jail, instead of preparing to lead France's Socialist Party against Nicolas Sarkozy next year, he will be defending himself against charges of attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment, forcible touching and sexual abuse.

The man known for helping bail out desperate countries in need of cash allegedly spent $3,000 a night for a luxury suite where he is accused of chasing a housekeeping employee down a hallway and sexually assaulting her. Read the criminal complaint (contains graphic language) (PDF)

With court appearances on the horizon, CNN is taking a look at what's next for Strauss-Kahn and what the political, financial and legal ramifications will be.


When New York police detained Strauss-Kahn for questioning on sexual assault charges last weekend, he called on the same lawyer as Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Sean "Diddy" Combs and other A-listers who faced criminal charges.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who said the case has a long way to go, called lawyer Ben Brafman "the single best courtroom attorney I've ever seen."

Since there's a lot riding on the early stages of the investigation and arrest, Strauss-Kahn likely wanted the high-profile lawyer in his corner to help him with his defense and his image.

"Many of my clients are good people who have gone astray and broken the law," Brafman said in an interview with education website

Linda Fairstein, former head of the Manhattan District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit, told CNN that as Strauss-Kahn sits in a jail cell, investigators will be examining evidence and talking to the woman who reported the allegation.

Fairstein said investigators will be looking at what the victim's emotional and physical condition was after the alleged crime was reported, any video tapes in the hotels to check on the victim and Strauss-Kahn's version of events and whether there were body fluids left behind to show proof of an assault. Much time will likely be spent interviewing the victim, Fairstein said, because "the case cannot proceed without her."

Fairstein spoke with about how the case will proceed, what the charges against Strauss-Kahn mean and what is expected to unfold in the courtroom.


Strauss-Kahn's arrest dominated the front pages of France's newspapers, with most focusing on the likely damage to his political career - some calling for a timeout, others calling it game over. takes a look at whether the few minutes it took for the scandal to erupt could have killed Strauss-Kahn's hopes of a presidential bid and how as a result of the arrest the entire presidential race in France has been thrown into chaos.

But some in France also worry how the scandal may be portrayed.

"In the coming days, a flood of headlines and old clichés about French people being cowardly and depraved will probably come up," an article in French newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur and posted by in English says.


"The biggest short-term impact of Strauss-Kahn's arrest will likely be felt in the euro zone," Michael Schuman wrote in a piece. "Strauss-Kahn has been a key player in the often fractious attempts by Europe's leaders to resolve the zone's debt crisis, and his sudden absence will likely add more confusion to the debates over how to handle Greece."

But that's not to say that even if Strauss-Kahn had been available there would have been an easy fix. And additionally, Schuman argues his absence raises more important "fundamental questions about that institution's role in the global economy."

Still the EU bailout is no doubt in some jeopardy, merely because of the arrest and what it means for who will be there to make things work, Fortune's Colin Barr writes.

Barr notes that with the head man sitting in jail, and the No. 2 man leaving in August, for the IMF the impact will definitely be in how it will lead moving forward and who it will trust to do so.

"The bigger impact of Saturday's alleged incident lies in the shift of economic leadership from the debt-soaked West to the emerging East – an accelerating trend that is almost certain to manifest itself in who gets chosen to pick up the pieces left by Strauss-Kahn.

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Filed under: Crime • Economy • Finance • France
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Jerry

    I smell a ripped from the headlines Law And Order SVU episode coming

    May 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. oh youbvet

    I think he was set up by high power. He is a power broker and I think its no accident he is being arrested before debt talk. maybe he didn't play ball or his views are not supported by the powers that b. Remember what you hear on news is fake mostly.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yunus yusuf

    In my view it is a political game

    May 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bucky D.

    There is a very good reason why the French don't speak German today. If this happened in Paris...well? Nothin' for nothin', but this did occur in NYC. Are you all just stupid? The NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney wouldn't even think about doing this if they didn't have the proof.The guy's a piece of S***. Give it up! Maybe he shares a cell with Madoff? That would be so cool! I can hear the conversation now:"well, I did this and got away with it". "well, I did this and got away with it. How bout them yanks? Can hear that train a comin", you hear it dude?"

    May 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BarbaraSamburu

    Suicide watch???? Not one of my tax dollars to guard against it.

    May 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Craig A. Lance

    IMHO, the only way he should be allowed bail is if they strap that ankle bracelet around his unit.

    May 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ladidah

    Angie what makes you think that this Woman is illegal? Just because she is from Africa or what? That's what I call ignorance! She has a right to report and I hope she wins tha case.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    It is an outrage that he is allowed to claim that this was consensual – poor lady

    May 19, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
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