French writer won't testify against Strauss-Kahn: lawyer

20th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A French writer who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of a 2002 sexual assault will not testify against him in the New York case, her lawyer said Friday.

Novelist and journalist Tristane Banon, 31, also appeared to be reconsidering her own legal action against the leading Socialist politician.

"We won't testify in the context of the American trial," lawyer David Koubbi told RTL radio on Friday, referring to the trial Strauss-Kahn faces in New York over the alleged sexual assault and attempted rape of a hotel chambermaid.

And he told BFM television they had postponed any decision on whether to proceed in their own complaint against Strauss-Kahn, who until just a few days ago was the widely respected head of the International Monetary Fund.

On Monday, Koubbi had said that he was working with his client on the complaint.

"It is absolutely out of the question" that any action on their part should lead to the conviction of Strauss-Kahn in the United States, he explained.

Neither he nor his client was willing to let the US justice link the two cases in any way, he added.

But it will no longer be possible to file any complaint regarding the 2002 allegation once the 10-year statute of limitations for cases of this kind expires in 2012.

Banon previously made the allegation against Strauss-Kahn on French television in 2007, branding him a "rutting chimpanzee".

She recounted how a senior politician had lured her to a virtually empty apartment in the guise of agreeing to give an interview and then assaulted her.

In her comments she appeared happy to identify the politician, but his name was bleeped out of the broadcast version. In 2008, Banon confirmed to the AgoraVox website that she had been referring to Strauss-Kahn.

She had not made a formal complaint to authorities at the time of the assault because her mother, a regional councillor in Strauss-Kahn's Socialist Party, had dissuaded her at the time, she told AgoraVox.

Banon's mother, Socialist politician and blogger Anne Mansouret, confirmed to France's Rue89 news website that she had advised her daughter at the time not to make a formal complaint, for fear of hurting her career in journalism.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested on Saturday in New York after a chambermaid who had been cleaning his 3,000-dollar-per-night hotel suite alleged that he had come out of the bathroom naked and sexually assaulted her.

A New York judge has cleared him for release on bail pending trial, under very strict conditions.

But the 62-year-old veteran politician has resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund and the scandal has also dashed any hope he had of replacing Nicolas Sarkozy as French president in 2012.

© 2011 AFP

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