Strauss-Kahn bail hearing heads into recess

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A dramatic hearing in New York to decide whether or not ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be granted bail headed Thursday into recess after the judge voiced concern he was a flight risk.

During the recess, Strauss-Kahn's American-born French television journalist wife, whose eyes were bloodshot, wiped away tears from the eyes of his sobbing daughter Camille Strauss-Kahn with the side of her hand.

"The real issues for the court are that there are conditions, not just financial conditions, that the defendant will be here" for court hearings, judge Michael Obus told the court before leaving to consider his decision.

"The defendant lives in a country where it would be difficult if not impossible to get him back," he said, referring to Strauss-Kahn's homeland of France, which has no extradition treaty with the United States.

The defense is urging Obus to free Strauss-Kahn, 62, from a notorious New York jail pending trial on charges of sexual assault, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment of a hotel chambermaid.

The hearing came just hours after Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF vowing to battle to clear his name. His lawyer told the court the leading French politician was an "honorable man" who would not skip bail.

Defense lawyers said Strauss-Kahn would put up $1 million in bail, surrender all his travel documents and submit to 24 hour electronic monitoring. A private security team would be with him "physically" until the electronic bracelet could be fitted on Friday.

He would also agree to be confined round-the-clock with his wife in her New York apartment, where his daughter has been living.

The prosecution argued that Strauss-Kahn was an immensely powerful man who had every incentive to flee and the means to evade justice if he did.

It was not clear if Obus would make his decision Thursday or if proceedings might stretch to a second day.

© 2011 AFP

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