IMF chief is placed under suicide watch at New York City jail

Accuser is telling truth, lawyer says

By Chris Hawley
Associated Press / May 18, 2011

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NEW YORK — IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed under a suicide watch in jail, while pressure mounted on him to resign yesterday and the hotel maid who accused him of attempted rape said through her lawyer that she had no idea who he was when she reported the attack to police.

Law enforcement officials emphasized that Strauss-Kahn had not tried to harm himself but that guards were keeping a close watch on him just in case.

Meanwhile, details began to emerge about his accuser, a 32-year-old immigrant from the West African nation of Guinea with a 15-year-old daughter.

Her story of being attacked by Strauss-Kahn in the Sofitel hotel suite near Times Square is consistent because she is telling the truth, her lawyer Jeffrey Shapiro said.

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“There is no way in which there is any aspect of this event which could be construed consensual in any manner,’’ Shapiro said. “This is nothing other than a physical, sexual assault by this man on this young woman.’’

He continued: “It’s not just my opinion that this woman is honest. The New York City Police Department reached the same conclusion.’’ He added, “This is a woman with no agenda.’’

After being denied bail on Monday, Strauss-Kahn, 62, is jailed at Rikers Island on charges including attempted rape.

Defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman has said he and others assisting Strauss-Kahn in the case believe the forensic evidence “will not be consistent with a forcible encounter.’’

He said that “significant issues’’ make it “quite likely that he will be ultimately be exonerated.’’

The maid has not been identified by name, and the Associated Press generally does not name people alleging sexual assault.

She arrived seven years ago in the United States from Guinea under “very difficult circumstances,’’ Shapiro said, and lives in the city with her daughter.

Shapiro said the woman did not know that Strauss-Kahn was managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

“She did not know who this man was until a day or two after this took place,’’ Shapiro said. top stories on Twitter

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