Strauss-Kahn tries for redemption through TV

Since returning home, the former presidential frontrunner has been under pressure to explain himself, and chose to do so on a news show, where he will be interviewed by a friend of his loyal wife.

Feminists plan to protest outside the TF1 network when the 62-year-old Socialist arrives for what is expected to be a gentle and carefully prepared run-through the events surrounding of the collapse of his political career.

“I’m expecting him to address all the questions without slipping into inappropriate voyeurism,” said lawmaker and Strauss-Kahn ally Jean-Marie Le Guen. “The French want an explanation, not some great revelations.”

Four months ago, Strauss-Kahn was expected to win the Socialist nomination for next year’s French presidential election, and polls made him favourite to go on to sweep centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy from office.

But that was before he committed what he now says was an “error” during a seven-minute sexual encounter with a New York hotel chambermaid, who promptly accused him of subjecting her to a degrading sexual assault.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested, handcuffed and briefly jailed, but the criminal trial collapsed when the New York prosecutor said the Guinean maid Nafissatou Diallo’s past history of deceit made her an unreliable witness.

Strauss-Kahn has firmly denied that his brief encounter with Diallo was forced — and his multi-millionaire heiress wife Anne Sinclair has stood by him — but he still faces at least two more legal battles.

Diallo is pressing forward with a civil case for damages despite the end of criminal charges, and another woman, 32-year-old French writer Tristane Banon, has accused Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her in 2003.

Police interviewed Strauss-Kahn about this charge this week, and a source close to the inquiry said he had admitted “making an advance” on Banon — the daughter of a friend and a woman 30 years his junior.

Again, he angrily insists no force was used. As yet, Paris prosecutors have not decided whether or not to charge Strauss-Kahn in the Banon case, but legal observers here feel it would be a hard case to prove eight years on.

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