NEW YORK (AP) — The former International Monetary Fund head charged with trying to rape a Manhattan hotel maid formally said he was innocent of the charges Monday in his first court appearance in the case in two weeks.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty in a strong voice at the brief proceeding, standing between his defense team as his wife, journalist Anne Sinclair, watched.
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus went through the formality of telling Strauss-Kahn he needed to appear in court and had a right to be present at his trial, to which the economist said "yes."
The French diplomat appeared in court for the first time since he was released on $6 million in cash bail and bond last month. He has been under house arrest that includes 24-hour monitors and armed guards, first in a downtown Manhattan apartment and now in a deluxe, $50,000-a-month Tribeca town house.
By the end of the case, "it will be clear that there was no element of forcible compulsion in this case whatsoever," Strauss-Kahn's attorney Ben Brafman said outside court after the brief hearing. "Any suggestion to the contrary is simply not credible."
Brafman's similar comments at an earlier court hearing have led to speculation that the defense will argue the encounter was consensual. He repeated again Monday that he and co-counsel William Taylor would not be commenting on the specifics of the case.
"We will defend this case in the courtroom," he said, urging there not be a rush to judgment.
But the maid's attorney, Kenneth Thompson, said she would testify in court and condemned speculation that she either made up the attack or exaggerated the claims.
"The victim wants you to know that all of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's power, money and influence throughout the world will not keep the truth about what he did to her in that hotel room from coming out," Thompson said.
The Associated Press generally does not identify accusers in sex crime cases unless they agree to it.
Thompson said the 32-year-old woman has not worked since the encounter because she is traumatized. And she will not settle the case or back down.
"She is standing up for women around the world sexually assaulted who are too afraid to come forward," he said.