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. TRY

    I am having difficulty believing the woman's story. She thought she was alone and didn't know Krauss-kahn was staying at the Sofitel Hotel where she works. How could a FRENCH AFRICAN WOMAN not known that a FRENCH POLITICIAN , A PRESIDWNTAL FRONT RUNNER is staying in the Hotel that work. I stongly believe she is being paid by the Sarkozy's to have Krauss-Kahn set up.

    May 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetTheFactsBeforeCommenting

      A. It was past check-out time, B. He had not requested a late checkout with the front desk, C. Room Service Attendants go through the rooms after check-out time & before Housekeeping processes the room. Room Service said it was empty, and gave the Houskeeping Maid the all-clear to service the room. The young woman was merely at work, doing her job. She's not to blame. Your ignorance is obvious.

      May 17, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon666

      She did know. A photo of DSK was out in a room to notice the personnel of the presence of a VIP. This is according to another maid working there in newspaper Le Figaro.

      May 18, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
    • EndtheWorld

      Have you stayed at these posh hotels in NYC? It is not like in Europe with such adulation and awe at those who stay in the suites– even IF they cost 3,000usd/night. DSK had a responsibility to let the hotel front desk know if he intended to check out late or if he was still in the room (put out the "do not disturb") sign. Everyone does it. He does not get any special treatment SIMPLY because he is some frenchman of importance. He was there alone, not with a staff or handlers looking out for him like a president or something. He was like an ordinary citizen. Maids in hotels are not responsible for assigning themselves work- whether they speak french or not. The follow the protocols that management has laid out for them- no late checkout and no sign on the door, then you can enter after knocking. Maybe the maid knocked and he did not respond that she shouldn't come in. DSK, whether guilty of ALL the offenses stated is clearly some kind of pervert. We don't accept men raping black maids (the way they might accept it in france) simply because she is black!!!!!

      May 18, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • okechukwu oboh

      shut up!

      May 18, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • PJ

      She was a Housekeeper. Probably not the most literate of women. I doubt very much if she knew anything about him. I didn't and I go to France yearly. Now I know him. He is infamous and a predator.

      May 18, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Hoofleau

      @ TRY: You must be French. You do not want this man to be your next President. He is a felon.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tabby

      And so what? even if she knew who this guy was? does that make it ok for him to go raping women..I am so glad I live in America..THE LAND OF THE FREE AND BRAVE!!!!!!

      May 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dimitri

    greek logic prooves that the all story is a make up . how they believe a 62 years old can have such a force to fight a 32 years old healthy woman that could brake his bowls or cut his p... with her teeth, if rhere is semen there is a good help...

    May 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon666

      Moreover the victim is supposed to be over 1m80 (unconfirmed though) and DSK is 1m70.

      May 18, 2011 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Spaceman

    No way could a 62 year old man have done all of the alleged to a 32 year old woman without a serious fist fight. Either there is serious physical evidence or not including a wrecked hotel suite !

    May 18, 2011 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. kat

    whatever we say or think, we ll never know what really happened , only the two of them know for sure.Speculating can be dangerous but mostly has no meaning cause we didn't see it with our own eyes.
    I just suggest that we don't give serious trust to what media broadcast.

    May 18, 2011 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. john

    The guy is 95% surely a rapist (also the girl Tristane in 2002). Can France not find any other qualified person among all the French people on planet Earth to be their president? Why resort to someone who is 95% sure an attacking rapist. Is there no other qualified French person on Earth to be their next president?

    The fact that French people don't mind an attacking rapist to be their president is a little weird.

    May 18, 2011 at 5:09 am | Report abuse |
    • canchi

      john, their neighbours, Italy, also seems not to have a problems with that

      May 18, 2011 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joop Remme

    I stay in hotels all over the world, but I have never experienced room service to show up un-announced in the middle of the night. In other words, I just do not believe the woman's story.
    So far, I think it is far more likely that the woman tried to extort money out of him and decided to burn him when she realized he would not pay up.
    In the absence of some very clear evidence (we ave t see what the DA presents), I think it is so far a case of her word against his word, and that seems to me insufficient grounds for treating the man the way he is currently treated.

    I wonder why John states "the guy is surely a rapist". Was John there?. And the charges about what happened in 2002 are totally unbelievable and without any factual basis. They come from a woman who wanted fame in rech high society and odds are that she trumped up those charges to get press coverage. She has done well for herself since.

    May 18, 2011 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes

      He is innocent until proven guilty. No one has heard his side of story, all we heard is she said she said..........on and on. If the charges are true, it is something really bad he did, but we don't know if he did it or not.

      I am having a serious trouble with the media. The media made him look like he already is guilty until proven innocent.
      He is charged, not convicted!!

      May 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. deepwater805

    I'm pretty sure Strauss-Kahn's next gig is gonna involves scabs on his knees...

    May 18, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thadius Shadrach

    this is what conspiracy theory is for, conspire means to breathe together, here are, mostly emotional responses from political and religous beliefs, there is no credibilty in this world, or any casino capitalist press especially, had the tickets in advance, was rich, had no motive, massage services abound, Greek debt crisis, right wing French president challenged, anti French prejuidice , ... uhhhh,

    May 18, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Random person

    Dear Mallory Simon, please get your facts right on such a hot topic: 1st, he's accused, yet not guilty, so treat him as such, a non guilty person until proven otherwise. 2nd: the suite in the Sofitel was a free upgrade, he initially booked a $525 room.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. A French

    To John :
    1. Not all the French want Strauss-Kahn as president, though he was a potential winner of next year's election.
    2. He was a favorite candidate but neither he nor Sarkozy have declared themselves candidates yet, let alone started campaigning. The recent polls cannot be considered too significant fot next year's results.
    3. The followers of Strauss-Kahn don't want a rapist for president, they want Strauss-Kahn. The logical consequence is that they don't believe that he is a rapist and that the whole story is a setup. With more evidence presented, the opinion is shifting though.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. smokin11


    May 18, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Daffydill

    Will someone please ask WHAT VISA is she supposedly on, as there is no visa available for unskilled workers for 7 years. And verify that it is not expired. I believe she may be an overstay and therefore illegal.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Angie

    All the facts are not out but my gut feeling tells me this woman is telling the truth. As per her coworkers and bosses, she was a good worker, highly respected. For a poor african immigrant, this job is her livelihood, her way of supporting herself and her child. She wouldn't have endangered it if it wasn't for this horrific attack. The defense will try to buy her silence or to twist the facts, hopefully she will stay strong and seek for the truth to come out.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Want the Truth

    Why would a successful man such, as DSK, risk his life and career in forcing a woman as described. Is he not intelligent enough to foresee the implications? According to all accounts, he seemed composed when approached by police? It will be interesting to see what lie detector tests prove from both DSK and the housekeeper. If this is truly a set up, what is our society coming to...using a democratic criminal system to convict the innocent...shouldn't it be the other way around?

    May 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    First of all the jerk just looks guilty. He looks like a bully, and based on his past that sounds about like a right assessment. I hope he really gets the full brunt of US prosectution if he is guilty. We need stricter punishment for these type of crimes that devastate the lives of innocent victims. She should sue him into bankruptcy in civil court too in case he gets off on criminal charges.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
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