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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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Last week brought the first smiles to Strauss-Kahn since he was hauled off an Air France jet waiting for take off May 14 and charged with rape. Prosecutors backed off charges based on the credibility of the accuser, described as unreliable by police investigators.

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While police confirm a sexual encounter between Strauss-Kahn and a hotel housekeeper on May 14 between noon and 12:25 pm, the maid’s background details and her timeline of the story have been inconsistent enough to cause prosecutors to fold their hand on the original charge.

Banon's story

But now comes Banon, her lawyer, and an interview with her this week in L’Express that analysts say would likely not have been published prior to the New York hotel incident.

Banon was 22 and a cub reporter when she interviewed Strauss-Kahn in a Paris apartment. She says he leaped on her and tried to remove her blouse, bra, and jeans. The incident ended “very violently … I kicked him,” Banon said in a French TV interview in 2007. Strauss-Kahn’s name was deleted from the live airing of the program in keeping with a long tradition of propriety bordering on censorship in the French press regarding such allegations.

Banon, whose mother was a Socialist party official, and who counted Strauss-Kahn’s daughter Camille as her friend, decided not to start her writing career with a charge against a prominent French political figure and did not press charges at the time.

Banon’s mother, Anne Mansouret, has since described her daughter’s depression after the incident and has blamed herself for a role in talking Banon out of the charge.

“For once I want to have control over what is happening to me,” said Banon in the L’Express interview. “I want to be heard because perhaps, finally, there’s a chance that I will be listened to. I want only one thing: that he [Strauss-Kahn] returns to France with his presumption of innocence so we can go before the court.”

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