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IMF head submits to DNA test in sex attack probe

Last Updated 12:24 p.m. ET

NEW YORK - The head of the International Monetary Fund will be arraigned in criminal court in New York City later this morning on charges that he sexually assaulted a maid in his Manhattan hotel room.

The court appearance comes after a night in which Dominique Strauss-Kahn submitted to DNA testing and a forensic exam that included looking for scratches or other evidence of an alleged assault, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

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Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, who was considering a run for the presidency of France, stepped in front of cameras handcuffed and charged with a scathing array of sex crimes.

"He will vigorously defend these charges and he denies any wrongdoing," said his attorney, Benjamin Brafman.

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Strauss-Kahn will be arraigned this morning and will plead not guilty to charges of attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment, and a criminal sex act.

The 62-year-old French politician is accused of attacking a 32-year-old maid Saturday afternoon inside his $3,000-a-night suite. She had gone in to clean what she thought was an empty room.

But, according to police, Strauss-Kahn was in the bathroom. He allegedly came out naked, locked the suite door, and forced the maid onto the bed. She told police he tried to take her clothes off. When she resisted, he allegedly dragged her to the bathroom and forced her to perform a sex act.

Three hours later, at John F. Kennedy International Airport, police arrested Strauss-Kahn as he was seated in first class - just 10 minutes before his Air France flight to Paris was scheduled to take off.

Later, the maid reportedly identified him in a police lineup.

Strauss-Kahn's job running the International Monetary Fund placed him in a key role in efforts to stem the European debt crisis, forming aid packages for Greece and Ireland.

"The Fund is a very conservative institution," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research. "It had supported orthodox economic policies that were in a lot of ways responsible for the crisis, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn was trying to take the Fund in a different direction."

CBS News correspondent Vicki Barker reported Monday that the shocking news of Strauss-Kahn's arrest is exerting downward pressure on the euro in morning trading.

The twice-divorced but currently married Strauss-Kahn admitted an affair with a subordinate three years ago; his reputation got him the nickname, "The Great Seducer."

Sources inside the IMF tell CBS News that Strauss-Kahn always kept his job because of his abilities in the banking world, but his future in that position is now uncertain, to say the least.

One IMF insider told CBS News that Strauss-Kahn had righted the International Monetary Fund ship after poor performances by the last two managing directors. "He's done an excellent job," she said, in an institution which depends on hierarchical leadership. Now with first deputy managing director John Lipsky filling in, there is familiar leadership at the helm, but, she said, "We're still floored. It just doesn't sound like him."

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling with President Obama today that the U.S. believes the IMF can still execute its mission effectively.

According to police, they caught a break in arresting Strauss-Kahn. He called the hotel looking for his cell phone, and a hotel employee lied and asked how he could return it to him. It was only then that investigators learned he was about to leave the country from JFK.

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The charges against Strauss-Kahn have stunned the global financial world and upended French presidential politics.

A former economics professor, Strauss-Kahn served as French industry minister and finance minister in the 1990s, and is credited with preparing France for the adoption of the euro by taming its deficit.

He took over as head of the IMF in November 2007. The 187-nation lending agency provides help in the form of emergency loans for countries facing severe financial problems.

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer said the coming months were to have marked the pinnacle of what truly has been a stellar career, and was seen as a strong center-left candidate for President Sarkozy's job - but that his political ambitions have almost certainly been sunk.

Palmer said that a French writer, Tristane Banon, who had previously alleged in a TV interview that Strauss-Kahn had also assaulted her, is now considering legal action.

Caroline Atkinson, an IMF spokeswoman, issued a statement Sunday that said the agency would have no comment on the New York case. She referred all inquiries to Strauss-Kahn's personal lawyer and said the "IMF remains fully functioning and operational."

The fund's executive board was expected to be briefed on developments related to Strauss-Kahn on Sunday, but the meeting was postponed. John Lipsky, the IMF's first deputy managing director, would lead the organization in an acting capacity in Strauss-Kahn's absence.

Strauss-Kahn was supposed to be meeting in Berlin on Sunday with Merkel about increasing aid to Greece, and then join EU finance ministers in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday. The IMF is responsible for one-third of Greece's existing loan package, and his expected presence at these meetings underlined the gravity of the Greek crisis.

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.

Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet lamented the shadow the incident could cast on all of France.

"I'm very surprised to see at what speed in France we rush to political conclusions about a subject that is a serious one. He is accused of very serious acts. We are hardly speaking at all of the alleged victim," she said Monday on Canal-Plus television. In addition to the hotel maid, Koscuisko-Morizet said there is another "clear victim, which is France."

He was alone when he checked into the Sofitel hotel near from Times Square, on Friday afternoon, police said. It wasn't clear why he was in New York. The IMF is based in Washington, and he had been due in Germany on Sunday to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The maid was taken by police to a hospital and was treated for minor injuries. Stacy Royal, a spokeswoman for Sofitel, said the hotel's staff was cooperating in the investigation and that the maid "has been a satisfactory employee of the hotel for the past three years."

His wife, Anne Sinclair, defended him in a statement to French news agency AFP.

"I do not believe for one second the accusations brought against my husband. I have no doubt his innocence will be established," said Sinclair, a New York-born journalist who hosted a popular weekly TV news broadcast in France in the 1980s and '90s.

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."

"It's sure that a future president already mired in judicial problems is not well seen by the French," said Patricia Bous, a lab researcher in Paris' Left Bank on Monday.

"It's obvious that this is someone a lot of people were counting on, and because of this all of the cards are being reshuffled. So I don't know what's going to happen, but for me there is a presumption of innocence and we await the proof so we'll see," said university employee Hubert Javaux, also in the Left Bank.

French newspapers all put Strauss-Kahn on their front pages Monday morning, with grim headlines and photos. "DSK Out" read the banner headline on the left-leaning Liberation. "The Doors of the Elysee Are Closing for DSK" read that in Le Soir.

The New York 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."

Sarkozy, who did not comment publicly Sunday, had championed Strauss-Kahn to run the IMF. Political strategists saw it as a way for Sarkozy to get a potential challenger far from the French limelight.

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