IMF Chief Faces 25 Years' Jail If Guilty; Female Judge Refuses $1M Bail as DSK Is a 'Flight Risk'

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Byline: From Tom Leonard in New York

THE full graphic details of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's alleged sex attack on a New York hotel maid were revealed in court yesterday as the International Monetary Fund head was refused bail as a 'flight risk'.

As France went into political meltdown over the scandal engulfing a leading candidate for the country's presidency, the haggard-looking finance chief appeared before a female judge at the Manhattan criminal court.

Strauss-Kahn, who should have been meeting European finance ministers in Brussels, was instead forced to listen grim-faced and silent as prosecutors outlined the severity of the charges against him.

After sexually assaulting the 32-year-old housekeeper and attempting to rape her, Strauss-Kahn, 62, forced her to perform a sex act, said Assistant District Attorney John McConnell.

Judge Melissa Jackson denied a $1million bail application after prosecutors argued that the Frenchman, arrested on a Paris-bound plane hours after the alleged attack at the Sofitel hotel, was not only a flight risk but had possibly carried out a similar assault outside America. Lawyers would not elaborate, but they may be referring to claims by French writer Tristane Banon that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her nine years ago.

She indicated yesterday that she will this week attempt to press charges against him in Paris.

Strauss-Kahn denies all the charges against him in New York, which include two counts of a first degree criminal sexual act, two counts of sexual abuse, attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

A one-page indictment provided further lurid claims.

He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Police said the alleged victim picked Strauss-Kahn out of an identity parade on Sunday.

He also gave detectives permission to examine him for physical evidence of scratches and DNA from his accuser.

But his lawyers said he has an alibi that he was out for lunch at the time of the alleged attack - reportedly with one of his four daughters. And in France there are growing claims that he is the victim of a set-up - exploiting his notorious weakness for women - by his political enemies.

One opponent yesterday claimed that the IMF chief had sexually abused several maids at the Sofitel hotel.

Without offering proof of his claims, Michel Debre, an outspoken politician from French president Nicolas Sarkozy's party, said: 'It's not the first time that DSK is involved in this kind of actions at the Sofitel.

'That's where he always stayed. It happened several times and for several years. Everyone knew it in the hotel.' The hotel maid, a Guinean immigrant, told police she went into Strauss-Kahn's [euro]2,000-a night suite at midday on Saturday, believing he had vacated it.

Instead he emerged naked from the bathroom and, closing the door, proceeded to attack her first in the bedroom and then in the bathroom.

She said she managed to break free, and alerted colleagues who rang the police.

He was taken off an Air France flight ten minutes before it was due to take off.

Mr McConnell told the court during the 20-minute hearing that the maid had given investigators a 'very powerful and detailed account of the incident' and had had a full sexual assault examination in hospital. …