Dominique Strauss-Kahn maid gives her side of the story to grand jury

The hotel maid who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape was due to testify before a grand jury behind closed doors last night, as her lawyers dismissed any notion that she consented to sexual contact with the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the penthouse suite of New York's Sofitel Hotel.

Prosecutors and defence lawyers were scrambling to prepare for a second court hearing tomorrow that may set bail for the former French finance minister. But for now, Mr Strauss-Kahn remains under suicide watch in his solitary cell at New York City's spartan Rikers Island jail complex.

The victim of the alleged assault is reportedly from West Africa and was given asylum in the US seven years ago. Her lawyers dismissed suggestions that she played a role in plot to entrap Mr Strauss-Kahn, who had been seen as a leading contender in next year's French presidential election.

Prosecutors were expected to press yesterday's grand jury to offer up formal charges or an indictment to be read to the 62-year-old defendant when he appears at Manhattan Criminal Court tomorrow. Without an indictment, holding Mr Strauss-Kahn in custody any longer would be hard to justify. The seven charges would include forceful imprisonment and attempted rape. If he is found guilty of the most serious count, he could face 25 years behind bars.

Yesterday, there was an unsympathetic response from the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, to complaints from France that Mr Strauss-Kahn was unfairly paraded before the media when he was shown walking out of a police station in handcuffs – the so-called "perp walk".

"I think it is humiliating, but if you don't want to do the perp walk, don't do the crime," Mr Bloomberg said. He also made clear that he supported a judge's ruling on Monday that Mr Strauss-Kahn should be denied bail. "He would be the kind of person who has a good chance of fleeing and France does not have an extradition treaty with the United States," he said.

Until days ago, Mr Bloomberg and Mr Strauss-Kahn belonged to the same club of globetrotting masters of world affairs. Now the defendant watches from his cell as, one by one, erstwhile peers urge him to surrender the title that accorded him so much respect. The US Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, said the Frenchman was "obviously not in a position to run the IMF".

It is likely to be at least six months before the case comes to trial, which maked securing bail a priority for the defence team. The case of the film director Roman Polanski, who evaded sexual abuse charges in California by fleeing to France, may be colouring the thinking of US officials in this case.

Yet for many legal experts the allegations do not rise to the level of long-term bail denial. "In general, it is not reasonable to set no bail for somebody who is charged with a first-offence Class B felony who has a substantial amount of bail to post," said Richard Willstatter, the president-elect of the New York State Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers. "It is almost inevitable that bail will be set."

Jeffrey Shapiro, a lawyer for the alleged victim, denied that she had willingly entered into sexual relations with Mr Strauss-Kahn, and said she only discovered his identity the day after the alleged incident. "There was nothing consensual about what took place in that hotel room," he told NBC News. "This is a woman who is a rape victim – the victim of a physical assault – who since this has taken place and since she has reported it to security at the hotel, has not had a moment of peace. She has not been able to return home. She has not been able to seek any help."

It emerged that the alleged victim was escorted back to room 2806 in the Sofitel on Monday to help investigators find possible physical evidence.

Key questions

Where was Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the time of the alleged attack?

His French lawyers initially claimed he was having lunch with his daughter, but prosecutors have highlighted discrepancies in the timing of the alleged incident and the meeting.

Did he imprison his alleged victim in room 2806 at the Sofitel?

His room key card may be useful as evidence. If, as the victim alleges, the door was locked while she was attacked, there should be an electronic record of that. It is standard procedure in most hotels for maids to leave the door open or ajar when they are in a room.

Did the IMF chief flee the scene?

Lawyers dispute claims that Mr Strauss-Kahn fled the hotel to escape New York by aeroplane, but police say evidence left behind at the Sofitel suggests that he "got out of there in a hurry".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living