Heckled by New York's maids, Dominique Strauss-Kahn set for fiery trial

Lawyers for the maid who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of criminal sexual assault in a New York hotel room served notice yesterday that she will testify at his trial and "tell the world" what he inflicted upon her, as the former IMF chief was met with a chorus of heckling from hotel workers outside a Manhattan courthouse.

The warning, delivered minutes after Mr Strauss-Kahn entered a 'not guilty' plea to the seven charges filed against him, is the latest indication of how ferocious the trial is likely to be with the defence, the prosecution and now lawyers for the accuser all aggressively preparing to engage in battle.

"She is going to come into this courthouse, get into that witness stand and tell the world what Dominique Strauss (Kahn) did to her," a lawyer for the maid, Kenneth Thompson, declared outside the court. "The victim wants you to know that all of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's power, money and influence throughout the world will not keep the truth about what he did to her in that hotel room from coming out."

Even months before it gets under way and with the window still ajar for a possible plea-bargain, the trial is increasingly taking on the air of a three-ring circus that will enthral the world, not least France, which is struggling to comprehend what has happened an economist and politician who was widely touted as its likely next president.

Theatrics outside the court yesterday were further stoked by hotel maids pushing against police barriers jeering Mr Strauss-Kahn as he, accompanied by his defence team and his wife, Anne Sinclair, arrived for his formal arraignment. The hotel employees, bussed in by their union and most dressed in uniforms they usually wear to work, cried "shame" as he walked past. Wendy Baranello, a hotel union organiser, called the charges "outrageous" and said the accuser "is a hard-working woman... just doing her job."

The arraignment was brief. Mr Strauss-Kahn, who is free on cash and bond bail totalling $6m (£3.7m) but must stay in a rented luxury townhouse just blocks from the court house, looked away as the seven charges were read out by a court official. In a voice that seemed confident and even defiant, he replied "not guilty" when asked by Judge Michael Obus how he wished to plead.

Speaking to reporters, Ben Brafman, the defendant's lead lawyer, said he will argue that no force was used in the 14 May encounter in a Sofitel suite. "Any suggestion to the contrary is simply not credible," he said, implying that sexual contact between his client and the accuser had been consensual. When the truth is established, "it will be clear that there was no element of forcible compulsion in this case whatsoever," Mr Brafman said after the brief hearing. "Any suggestion to the contrary is simply not credible."

Last month, the defence sent a letter to prosecutors saying the case against Mr Strauss-Kahn was over before it had started. The defence said they had information to "seriously undermine the quality of this prosecution and also gravely undermine the credibility of the complainant in this case".

But there is so far no sign of any wavering on the part of the Manhattan's DA's office and most legal observers think that while many sexual assault cases are settled with a plea bargain before trial, such an outcome is unlikely here with the stakes so high for all concerned. For Mr Strauss-Kahn a plea deal would probably involve some prison time and an admission that some coercion was used with the maid.

The next hearing for Mr Strauss-Kahn is set for 18 July. If found guilty of the most serious charges against him he could face up to 25 years in prison.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Systems and Network Support Analyst

£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

Recruitment Genius: IT Systems Support Analyst

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker / Trainee Broker / Closer - OTE £250,000

£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests