IMF chief may claim consensual sex with maid

IMF chief may claim consensual sex with maid

Forensic evidence not consistent with forcible encounter: Lawyer

The woman, 32, a widowed immigrant from Guinea who was granted asylum seven years ago, has not been publicly identified by the authorities in New York and has made no public statements about what prosecutors say was an attack by Strauss-Kahn, a 62-year-old Frenchman, as she prepared to clean his hotel room on Saturday.

But her lawyer said she had been unable to return to her job at the Sofitel New York or to her home, as both had attracted swarms of international news media. And as she remained in seclusion, there were suggestions that Strauss-Kahn, a powerful, wealthy politician who was widely regarded as a strong candidate to run against the French President Nicolas Sarkozy next year, would put forward a defence that any sex would have been consensual.

During a hearing on Monday in Criminal Court in Manhattan, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, Benjamin Brafman, told a judge he believed the “forensic evidence” was “not consistent with forcible encounter.”

Brafman did not disclose what forensic evidence he was referring to, or even if he had been apprised about what forensic evidence the prosecution had collected. Even so, that statement seemed to suggest the defence may acknowledge that a sexual encounter had occurred.

Indeed, on Tuesday, a person briefed on the case said the defence believed that any sex act may have been consensual. That elicited an angry response from a lawyer for the woman. He dismissed any suggestion that the housekeeper, whom he described as “a very proper, dignified young woman,” had agreed to have sex with Strauss-Kahn.

“There is no question this was not consensual—she was assaulted and she had to escape from him, which is why when she finally got out of the room, she reported it to security immediately,” said the lawyer, Jeffrey J Shapiro. “It doesn’t matter what Brafman says, and it doesn’t matter what the defendant says. Her story is her story, which she has told to everyone who asked her, and she is telling the truth. She has no agenda.”

Shapiro said his client “did not even know who this guy was” until she saw news accounts, adding, “she is a simple housekeeper who was going into a room to clean a room.”

A law enforcement official said, meanwhile, that “more than one” woman had contacted investigators to suggest they had been sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn, but officials were still determining whether they would go to France to investigate.