NEW YORK, May 24, 2011 (AFP) – Investigators found traces of semen from former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on the clothes of a hotel maid who accused him of attempted rape, media reports said Monday.
DNA was found on the shirt of the 32-year-old woman who said she was attacked in Strauss Kahn’s New York hotel suite, according to NBC and ABC television.
The DNA matched sperm on the collar of the maid’s shirt, according to The Wall Street Journal and France 2 television channel.
All of the media quoted sources close to the investigation. But neither police, nor prosecutors nor Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers would comment on the reports.
The evidence could prove that there was a sexual encounter but not that there was violence of any kind, experts said.
Strauss-Kahn has denied charges made against him. The French politician, who is racing to find a new home, told his former staff how he is confronting a “personal nightmare.”
Under house arrest pending trial, he has been rejected by one luxury residence because of his newfound notoriety and must soon leave his temporary apartment.
Charges that he attempted to rape and sexually assault the chambermaid on May 14 forced him to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund last week and torpedoed his chances of standing in the French presidential election next year.
But Strauss-Kahn again denied the accusations in an email message sent to IMF staff Sunday in which he expressed “profound sadness” at the way he left his $450,000-a-year tax-free post.
“I deny in the strongest possible terms the allegations which I now face; I am confident that the truth will come out and I will be exonerated,” he wrote.
“In the meantime, I cannot accept that the Fund — and you dear colleagues — should in any way have to share my own personal nightmare. So, I had to go.”
Strauss-Kahn is holed up in the Empire Building at 71 Broadway, where management has apologized to residents and said the new arrival will be gone by “early” this week.
His wealthy wife, French television journalist Anne Sinclair, had previously arranged a $15,000 a month apartment on the Upper East Side. But Strauss-Kahn was rejected after residents complained about the bad publicity.
Sinclair left the Broadway apartment for a few hours on Sunday on what was believed to be part of the new hunt for a home. She has suspended her blog about American life.
“Dear reader, many, many many of you have sent me messages,” Sinclair wrote. “I cannot answer everybody, but know that these touched me and helped me.”
“You will understand the circumstances that have forced me to temporarily suspend this blog. All I can say is, a bientot.”
While Strauss-Kahn gets used to bail life wearing an ankle bracelet and being forced to stay in an apartment under the watch of video surveillance and and armed guard around the clock, the legal battle is heightening even before his next court appearance on June 6 to make a formal plea.
His lawyer Benjamin Brafman visited Strauss-Kahn on Monday. He has said his client will plead not guilty and that he is confident his client will go free.
The defense team has hired a posse of private investigators who, according to media reports, are already sifting through the 32-year-old accuser’s personal history in New York and her native Guinea in West Africa.
Prosecutors told Strauss-Kahn’s bail hearing last week that they are also building a “strong” case in support of the accusations.
Strauss-Kahn was arrested on an Air France flight just as it was about to leave New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, a few hours after the alleged attack. He spent the first days in detention at the notorious Rikers island jail.
He now faces seven counts, including the attempted rape charge.
Ian Weinstein, a law professor at Fordham University in New York, said that if convicted at trial, “a sentence of 10 years in prison is entirely likely, and a sentence higher than that is entirely possible.”
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