Strauss-Kahn due to enter plea in court

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn was expected Monday in court to plead not guilty to charges that he attempted to rape a chambermaid in his luxury Manhattan hotel room.

The International Monetary Fund chief and potential French presidential candidate will formally start his fight against the accusations when he is arraigned in New York state court, his lawyers said.

Judge Melissa Jackson will then decide whether to free the wealthy Strauss-Kahn on bail. Prosecutors are likely to argue that he is a flight risk, given that he was detained after he rushed from to JFK Airport and was just minutes from taking off on a flight to France.

Strauss-Kahn, more used to hobnobbing with international leaders and helping to steer the world's economic affairs, will find himself before a no-frills arraignment court, where alleged criminals of every stripe are processed at breakneck speed.

In the hours leading up to his appearance, Jackson dealt with an endless stream of suspects in minor robbery, assault, and a slew of petty crimes such as public drinking.

The wood-lined courtroom was packed with journalists, mingling with members of the public. A French consulate representative was also present.

© 2011 AFP

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