Strauss-Kahn Court Appearance Delayed Until Monday; DSK "Tired But Fine"
Minutes ago the IMF announced that it has postponed its informal crisis meeting which was supposed to take place this evening, following the rapidly changing situation in New York, where it was just announced that DSK's court arraignment would be delayed until tomorrow, in order for him to undergo a physical examination checking for scratches and other DNA evidence from the accuser.
From the AP:
An arraignment expected Sunday night was postponed until Monday. Strauss-Kahn's lawyer William Taylor said testing for evidence delayed the arraignment.
"Our client willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination," Taylor said. Strauss-Kahn is "tired, but he's fine."
The IMF, which plays a key role in efforts to control the European debt crisis, named an acting leader and said it remains "fully functioning and operational" despite Saturday's arrest of its managing director.
A second lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, Benjamin Brafman, told The Associated Press that his client will plead not guilty. He and another lawyer went in and out of the Harlem police precinct where Strauss-Kahn was being held early Sunday afternoon, and declined to answer reporters' questions until the arraignment.
"He intends to vigorously defend these charges and he denies any wrongdoing," Brafman said Sunday night.
And some more from AP:
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's reputation with women earned him the nickname "the great seducer," and not even an affair with a subordinate could knock the International Monetary Fund leader off a political path pointed in the direction of the French presidency. All that changed with charges that he sexually assaulted a maid in his hotel room, a case that generated shock and revulsion, especially in his home country.
Police said the maid picked Strauss-Kahn out of a lineup. Unless the charges are quickly dropped, they could destroy his chances in a presidential race that is just starting to heat up.
A member of France's Socialist party, Strauss-Kahn was widely considered the strongest potential challenger next year to President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose political fortunes have been flagging.
"At the top of the polls," Strauss-Kahn tweeted proudly in French last December, linking an article that showed him ahead in opinion polls when French voters were asked whom they would choose in a primary. At a soccer game in a Washington suburb last September, he, his wife and others were seen wearing T-shirts that read, "Yes we Kahn," a play on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign slogan, "Yes we can."
Strauss-Kahn also noted that he trailed only Warren Buffett and Bill Gates on a list of 100 "global thinkers" compiled last November by Foreign Policy magazine. Strauss-Kahn was cited for his "steely vision at a moment of crisis" — for convincing Germany to help bail out Greece's debt-laden government, and for helping to put the brakes on defaults in Hungary, Pakistan and Ukraine.
The arrest could throw the long-divided Socialists back into disarray about who they could present as Sarkozy's opponent. Even some of his adversaries were stunned.
"It's totally hallucinating. If it is true, this would be a historic moment, but in the negative sense, for French political life," said Dominique Paille, a political rival to Strauss-Kahn on the center right, on BFM television. Still, he urged, "I hope that everyone respects the presumption of innocence. I cannot manage to believe this affair."
Candidates need to announce their intentions this summer to run in fall primary elections.
"If he's cleared, he could return — but if he is let off only after four or five months, he won't be able to run" because the campaign will be too far along, said Jerome Fourquet of the IFOP polling agency.
"I think his political career is over," Philippe Martinat, who wrote a book called "DSK-Sarkozy: The Duel," told The Associated Press. "Behind him he has other affairs ... I don't see very well how he can pick himself back up."
Strauss-Kahn is known as DSK in France, but media there also have dubbed him "the great seducer." His reputation as a charmer of women has not hurt his career in France, where politicians' private lives traditionally come under less scrutiny than in the United States.
In 2008, Strauss-Kahn was briefly investigated over whether he had an improper relationship with a subordinate female employee. The IMF board found that the relationship was consensual, but called his actions "regrettable" and said they "reflected a serious error of judgment."
Strauss-Kahn issued an apology, writing in an email to IMF staff that he showed poor judgment but didn't abuse his position.
The sexual assault allegations come amid French media reports about Strauss-Kahn's lifestyle, including luxury cars and suits, that some have dubbed a smear campaign. Some French raised suspicions about the sexual assault case as well.
"Perhaps this affair will unravel very quickly, if we learn that there is in the end no serious charge and that what was said by this woman was not true, and we all wish for this," former Socialist Party boss Francois Hollande said on Canal-Plus television. "To commit an act of such seriousness, this does not resemble the man I know."
At La Rotonde, a cafe on Paris' Left Bank, psychiatrist Sylvie Etienne said Strauss-Kahn's alleged behavior is very sad because he had had a "great chance" of becoming president. Her daughter, high school literature teacher Stephanie Plou, said it was probably for the best.
"This had to come out one day. Better now than when he's president," she said.
And for those concerned about DSK's well being now that he is relegated from a $3,000 a night room to a metal cot in a Harlem cell, his lawyer said that "He's tired but he's fine." Presumably this means that DSK does not have to consult with a physician as an erection longer than 4 hours has failed to materialize.
Incidentally, those who wish to check if Harlem PD has wifi and DSK still is in possession of his Blackberry, and was twitter (and yes, there is another pun in there somewhere) access, may do so via his official twitter account: @D_strauss_kahn