crimesider

IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting housekeeper

IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (C) is escorted by police in New York on May 15, 2011.
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Arraignment set for IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn accused of sexually assaulting housekeeper
IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (center) is escorted by police in New York on May 15, 2011.
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS/WCBS/AP) NEW YORK - International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday at his arraignment on charges of trying to rape a housekeeper at a luxury hotel in midtown.

A judge ordered the 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn held without bail pending a grand jury investigation into the charges, which include attempted rape, sex abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching, reports CBS station WCBS.

The top count is punishable by five to 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors stated that Strauss-Kahn could be a potential flight risk, comparing him director Roman Polanski, who lives comfortably in Europe after facing sex charges in California, reports the station.

Prosecutors said Strauss-Kahn's position at IMF had taken him out of the country previously and that the IMF leader was wealthy and doesn't live in New York.

The IMF oversees the global financial system and plays a central role in setting global exchange rates. Strauss-Kahn was widely seen as a frontrunner in the upcoming election for the French presidency.

"He has almost no incentive to stay in this country and every incentive to leave," Assistant District Attorney John A. McConnell told WCBS. "If he went to France, we would have no legal mechanism to guarantee his return to this country."

The man who the French call "the great seducer" was earlier questioned for hours by investigators and picked out of a lineup by his accuser.

The 32-year-old hotel worker told police she went in to clean what she thought was an empty luxury suite. The woman claims Strauss-Kahn came out of the bathroom naked, locked her inside and sexually assaulted her.

"He intends to vigorously defend these charges, and he denies any wrongdoing," said defense attorney Benjamin Brafman.

More on CrimesiderMay 16, 2011 - Arraignment set for IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn accused of sexually assaulting housekeeper