Judge Grants Former IMF Chief $1 Million Bail
A judge has agreed to free the former IMF chief from a New York City jail while he awaits trial on charges that he sexually abused a hotel maid.
The judge set bail at $1 million, and approved an elaborate arrangement under which Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be confined to a private apartment in Manhattan and monitored by armed guards.
Strauss-Kahn will also have to take out a $5 million insurance bond.
The former head of the International Monetary Fund arrived in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday afternoon wearing a gray suit and an open blue shirt. He turned to give a quick smile to supporters in the gallery that included a daughter and his wife, the television journalist Anne Sinclair.
The 62-year-old banker and diplomat has been behind bars at the city's bleak Rikers Island jail complex 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 he won't flee to France. The defense team made a similar request Monday that was denied.
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
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