Ex-IMF chief gets $1m bail, house arrest in sex assault
NEW YORK — Over the objections of prosecutors, a judge agreed yesterday to free former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn from jail on $1 million bail on the condition that he be confined to a New York apartment under armed guard while he awaits trial on attempted-rape charges.
The French banker and diplomat briefly wore an expression of relief after Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Obus announced his decision. Later, Strauss-Kahn, 62, blew a kiss toward his wife.
The ruling did not immediately free him from Rikers Island jail. Authorities need time to review the security arrangements involved in his house arrest, which lawyers said would be at an apartment rented by his wife.
The lawyer who represented Strauss-Kahn at the hearing, William Taylor, called the ruling “a great relief for the family.’’
“He’s going back to Rikers tonight, and we expect him to be released tomorrow,’’ he said.
Strauss-Kahn will not only have to post the full $1 million but will also have to take out a $5 million insurance bond. A trial date was not immediately set.
The banker is accused of attacking a 32-year-old housekeeper Saturday at his $3,000-a-night hotel suite. The woman told police that he chased her down a hallway, forced her to perform oral sex, and tried to remove her stockings.
He spent nearly a week behind bars, after a judge denied him bail on Monday. At that hearing, prosecutors warned that he might flee to France.
This time, Strauss-Kahn went before a different judge and also offered to place himself under house arrest.
The bail decision came less than a day after Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the powerful organization that makes emergency loans to countries in financial crisis.
In his resignation letter, he denied the allegations against him. But he said he would quit in order to “protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion’’ and to “devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence.’’
Also yesterday, prosecutors announced that Strauss-Kahn had been formally indicted.
Prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office had argued against his release, citing the violent nature of the alleged offenses and saying his wealth and connections would make it easy for him to flee.
Similar house-arrest arrangements have been made for other high-profile defendants in the city, most notably Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi scheme mastermind.