Dominique Strauss-Kahn Indicted: Former IMF Chief Granted Bail
NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters) - Dominique Strauss-Kahn was granted bail by a New York judge on Thursday, and the former IMF chief has vowed to fight charges that he tried to rape a hotel maid in Manhattan.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus said that Strauss-Kahn, 62, can be released on $1 million cash bail, and placed under 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring -- conditions that had been proposed by his lawyers.
The judge also said Strauss-Kahn must have one armed guard at all times at his own expense and have a $5 million insurance bond.
His wife, French television journalist Anne Sinclair, and his daughter Camille Strauss-Kahn had arrived at the court arm in arm. Strauss-Kahn arrived in court looking tired and was wearing a blue shirt, no tie, and a grey jacket.
Strauss-Kahn, a man accustomed to luxury hotel suites and first-class plane travel, had been denied bail in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday and has spent the past three nights in New York City's notorious Rikers Island jail.
He strongly denied charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching, in a letter released Wednesday by the IMF announcing his resignation.
``I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence,'' Strauss-Kahn wrote.
The former International Monetary Fund managing director faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
He was detained by New York police Saturday aboard an Air France flight minutes before it was to depart for Paris.
Prosecutors said that about 12 p.m. Saturday, Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted the a maid at the Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan, attempted to rape her and then, when unsuccessful, forced her to perform oral sex on him.
(Reporting by Basil Katz, writing by Michelle Nichols, editing by Stella Dawson)
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The 62-year-old banker and diplomat has offered to post $1 million in bail money to gain his release from the city's bleak Rikers Island jail complex. He's been behind bars since his arrest Saturday.
A prosecutor began the hearing by announcing that a grand jury had found enough evidence for an indictment, a procedural step that elevates the seriousness of the charge.
"The proof against him is substantial. It is continuing to grow every day as the investigation continues," said Assistant District Attorney John "Artie" McConnell.
An attorney for Strauss-Kahn, William Taylor, said that Sinclair had rented an apartment in the city where her husband could be confined and watched by an armed monitor, although he suggested few precautions were necessary.
"In our view, no bail is required to confirm Mr. Strauss-Kahn's appearance. He is an honorable man ... and he has only one interest at this time, and that is to clear his name," Taylor said.
Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund late Wednesday, saying he needed to focus on clearing his name.
His lawyers have promised that, if released, he won't flee to France. They have asked that Strauss-Kahn be placed under house arrest in New York, and wear an electronic device to monitor his movements.
The defense team made a similar request Monday that was denied, but was making additional arguments before a new judge, Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Obus, who oversees all criminal courts in Manhattan.
The judge called a brief recess during the hearing to ponder written materials.
Scores of reporters lined up outside the courtroom door before the hearing, with still more journalists and cameras poised outside the building. State court system spokesman David Bookstaver said the media throng was one of the biggest at the courthouse since Mark David Chapman was arrested in the 1980 killing of John Lennon.
Prosecutors have opposed Strauss-Kahn's release, saying his wealth and international connections would make it easy for him to flee.
Strauss-Kahn is charged with attacking a 32-year-old housecleaner Saturday afternoon at his Manhattan hotel suite. The 32-year-old West African immigrant told police that he chased her down a hallway, forced her to perform oral sex and tried to remove her stockings.
In his resignation letter, released by the IMF executive board, Strauss-Kahn denied the allegations against him, but said he would quit to protect the institution.
The political wrangling over who will succeed Strauss-Kahn at the IMF already has begun. European officials, including Germany's chancellor, the European Commission and France's finance minister, have been arguing that his replacement should be European.
Some authorities from China and Brazil have said it is time to break Europe's traditional dominance over the position and appoint someone from a developing nation. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has asked for an "open process," without mentioning any specific candidates.