Will Dominique Strauss-Kahn's political career get a fresh start?
US sexual abuse charges against French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn may be dropped soon, but a French novelist now says she will charge him with attempted rape.
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New York media today report that sexual assault charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief and a French Socialist Party heavyweight, may be dropped in a matter of days.
But in a dramatic shift in the month-long saga, French novelist Tristane Banon – who has steadily accused Strauss-Kahn of violent sexual overtures – now says she will charge him with attempted rape in 2002.
The Banon charges hit at a time when a purported new French feminist pushback against unwanted male advances is competing in the French mind with a strong and proud claim that Strauss-Kahn has been exonerated and was victimized by an overeager and puzzling US judicial process.
“Banon’s version of events might be close to the truth, but the alleged rape attempt took place eight years ago and [Strauss-Kahn's] battalions of lawyers and communication consultants have already started undermining her story and attacking her character. However, even if it does not end in a [Strauss-Kahn] conviction, Banon accusing him of acting like a ‘rutting chimpanzee’ will keep [his] antics on the front pages for a while, and this will complicate a smooth political comeback," he says.
Strauss-Kahn legal team fights back
The Strauss-Kahn legal team says it will sue Banon for defamation and called her allegations “imaginary.”
The new-old rape charge comes just as Strauss-Kahn’s numerous political allies are talking about his rehabilitation and a run for office after a stunning evident change in his fortunes.
It also arrives in a narrow window this month in which Socialist Party leaders must decide whether to waive party rules to allow Strauss-Kahn to join the 2012 French presidential bid.
About half the French in recent polls would like to see Strauss-Kahn enter French politics; that percentage has risen sharply when the question is put to the French left.
Sexual assault charges against Strauss-Kahn altered global economic leadership in the midst of an austerity crisis, put what many French felt to be their next president out of the race, and sparked national soul-searching and a new feminist discourse in France where there wasn’t much of one before.