IMF chief in court to face sex crime charges

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IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn returned to a New York courtroom Monday to deny charges that he sexually assaulted a Manhattan hotel maid.

Haggard looking, Strauss-Kahn wore a black raincoat and a light blue shirt. Police officers took him to have his irises scanned, then back to a bench where he sat along with other accused men in the arraignment court.

The head of the International Monetary Fund and possible French presidential candidate returned after briefly leaving the court presided over by Judge Melissa Jackson.

It was not immediately clear why he left temporarily, but there was no sign of his lawyers in the courtroom, suggesting his case was not yet ready.

In court, Strauss-Kahn sat on a bench where crime suspects wait before appearing in front of the judge. While waiting, he did not look across to the courtroom packed with journalists.

He was not handcuffed, but held his hands in front of him.

Strauss-Kahn was in court to enter a plea and seek bail. His lawyers say he will plead not guilty and "vigorously" fight the charges that he tried to force himself on a chambermaid at the luxury Sofitel hotel on Saturday.

The New York state arraignment court deals with a steady flow of criminal suspects, most of them related to drugs possession, assault, and minor theft.

© 2011 AFP

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