Friday deadline for Strauss-Kahn trial decision

18th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The grand jury deciding whether or not to send IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to trial has until Friday to decide.

Currently the French politician is being held in jail following his initial court hearing on Monday.

On Friday he is due in court to hear the results of the grand jury decision, seven days from his arrest on May 14th.

If the grand jury believes there is insufficient evidence to hold a trial, he will be freed. But if the grand jurors believe the prosecution argument has foundation, then the court will be presented with an indictment containing at least one felony charge.

The contents of the indictment will remain secret at that hearing. The charges could have changed from those laid out in the complaint already filed against him.

The judge at New York State court will set a new hearing date, typically 10 days to two weeks ahead. At that hearing, the indictment is unsealed and the defendant enters a formal guilty or not guilty plea.

If the plea is not guilty then preparations for a jury trial begin.

Strauss-Kahn has already denied the charges against him and vowed to fight them in court.

In the meantime, Strauss-Kahn remains incarcerated without bail because a judge on Monday deemed him liable to attempt escape to France, which does not extradite citizens to the United States. His lawyers can appeal this.

However, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office said that a judge was unlikely to overturn another judge's decision unless prosecutors came to an agreement with defense attorneys.

At the initial hearing, prosecutors opposed the defense bail offer of $1 million and surrender of Strauss-Kahn's travel documents. The prosecution spokeswoman said: "Nothing has changed."

© 2011 AFP

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