Hotel carpet tested for DNA in IMF case

IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn attends Manhattan Criminal Court, in New York, with his lawyer Benjamin Brafman on May 16, 2011. EMMANUEL DUNAND

The alleged victim at the center of an international sex scandal got her first day in court on Wednesday. Behind closed doors, the 32-year-old widow from Guinea, West Africa, who has accused IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her gave grand jury testimony.

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports that the case may turn out to be a whole lot more than just an instance of he-said-she-said.

"Her case is credible based upon her testimony alone, but there is other evidence. I'm not at liberty to discuss it but let's just say there is sufficient evidence in this case for the D.A. to seek an indictment," said the accuser's attorney, Jeffrey Shaprio.

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Investigators cut out a piece of carpet in a painstaking search of a penthouse suite for DNA evidence that could corroborate the woman's claim that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her, law enforcement officials said.

New York detectives and prosecutors believe the carpet in the hotel room may contain Strauss-Kahn's semen, spat out after an episode of forced oral sex, the officials said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Strauss-Kahn voluntarily submitted to a DNA test Sunday, and results are being fast-tracked. His defense team is likely to argue that the sex was consensual, a suggestion that outrages both the accuser's attorney and friends.

"There was nothing about any aspect of this encounter (that was) remotely consensual," Shapiro said.

The woman's friends also say the consensual claim strains credulity.

"She's a family person. She's a hard working woman. That's what she's here for, doing her job," said Abraham Fofanah, a friend of the accuser.

Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn, who was ordered held without bail this week after prosecutors argued the well-connected banker might try to flee to his native France and put himself beyond the reach of U.S. law, was scheduled for another bail hearing Thursday. He was arrested Friday and is being held in New York's notorious Rikers Island jail.

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In addition to examining the Sofitel Hotel suite for further potential DNA evidence, investigators were looking at the maid's keycard to determine whether she used it to enter the room, and how long she was there, officials said.

One of the officials said that the DNA testing was being "fast-tracked" but that the results could still be a few days away.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because neither was authorized to speak about the case publicly and because it has gone to a grand jury.

The maid told police that the 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn came out of the bathroom naked, chased her down, forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear before she broke free and fled the room.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly declined to comment Wednesday on the details of the evidence-gathering but said results of any DNA and other testing have not yet come back. He said the detectives investigating the case found the maid's story believable.

"Obviously, the credibility of the complainant is a factor in cases of this nature," Kelly said. "One of the things they're trained to look for, and what was reported to me early on, was that the complainant was credible."

The Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment Wednesday, as did one of Strauss-Kahn's attorneys, Benjamin Brafman. Brafman said at his client's arraignment this week that the forensic evidence "will not be consistent with a forcible encounter." That led to speculation the defense will argue it was consensual sex.

In court papers filed Wednesday, Strauss-Kahn's attorneys proposed posting $1 million cash bail and confining him to a Manhattan residence 24 hours a day, along with electronic monitoring. The attorneys had proposed similar conditions at a hearing on Monday, when Strauss-Kahn was denied bail.

Strauss-Kahn is one of France's most high-profile politicians and was seen as a potential candidate for president in next year's elections. His arrest shocked France.

Until now, Strauss-Kahn had been respected for the way he did his job at the IMF, guiding nations after the global meltdown.

"He's the kind of guy that has the personality and credibility to forge agreements, to persuade people to do things they won't naturally be inclined to do, and bring people back to the table when negotiations break down" said Mark Dow, a hedge fund manager.

He was a wealthy man too, with fancy cars and homes on three continents, including in Washington's tony Georgetown neighborhood. Now humbled by the accusations of a woman of little means, he is under increasing pressure worldwide to step down.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday: "Of course I can't comment on the case, but he's obviously not in the position to run the IMF."

The scandal comes at a critical moment for the International Monetary Fund, which is trying to shore up teetering economies in Europe. The IMF is an immensely powerful agency that loans money to countries to stabilize the world economy. In exchange it often imposes strict austerity measures.

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