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Former IMF chief is released from jail

Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be guarded in a Manhattan suite while he faces charges of sexually assaulting a maid. As part of a $6-million bail package, he will wear an electronic monitoring device.

May 21, 2011|By Geraldine Baum, Los Angeles Times
  • Police set up barriers in front of the N.Y. apartment building where former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expected to spend his house arrest.
Police set up barriers in front of the N.Y. apartment building where former… (Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty…)

Reporting from New York — Dominique Strauss-Kahn is out of jail, but instead of living under house arrest in a ritzy Manhattan apartment building that his wife had secured for him, the former head of the International Monetary Fund will stay downtown while he faces charges of sexually assaulting a chambermaid.

Neighbors on the Upper East Side didn't want Strauss-Kahn in the building, so he'll stay temporarily in a corporate suite near the World Trade Center site owned by the security company he has hired, at $7,000 a day, to guard him.

Strauss-Kahn's wife, Anne Sinclair, had rented an apartment in the Bristol Plaza on East 65th Street. The plan fell through after neighbors learned that her husband was the wealthy Frenchman who became a criminal defendant this week.

"Nobody wanted a swarm of television crews and tourists on the block the way they were for Bernie Madoff," said Joan Silverman, referring to the shamed financier who lived under house arrest not far away in his penthouse on East 64th Street before he went to prison.

Silverman owns a shoe store a block from where Madoff lived and an apartment a block from the Bristol. "When I saw all the cameras and the reporters near my apartment this morning, I thought to myself, 'Oy vey, here we go again.'" Tenants reportedly complained to the building's management that Strauss-Kahn's presence would be a nuisance.

State Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus signed off Friday on a $6-million bail package that paved the way for Strauss-Kahn to leave jail as long as he wore an electronic monitoring device, remained under constant guard, regularly checked in with prosecutors and showed up for all his court dates. He left the Rikers Island jail late Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors opposed the bail, arguing that Strauss-Kahn has the wealth and connections to elude authorities and return to France, which is not obligated to extradite its citizens to the U.S. Strauss-Kahn is a prominent Socialist who was believed by many to have had the best shot at beating French President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested May 14 after he was accused of attacking and attempting to rape a maid at a Manhattan hotel. A grand jury voted to charge him on seven counts involving sexual assault, four of them felonies. Strauss-Kahn has denied the charges.

Defense attorney William W. Taylor III said Friday he hoped the media would allow Strauss-Kahn his privacy.

"I don't care about hiding where he stays," Taylor said. "We're happy to have him stay anywhere. But we've asked that the media respect the privacy of the residents, the home and the feelings of the family that deserve some protection, that deserve some time together."

geraldine.baum@latimes.com

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