Strauss-Kahn Breaks His Silence

Dsk Interview

JENNY BARCHFIELD 09/18/11 04:13 PM ET AP

PARIS — Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, acknowledged Sunday his sexual encounter with a New York hotel maid was a “moral failing” on his part, but didn’t involve any violence.

In his first interview since his May 14 arrest over sexual assault accusations, Strauss-Kahn told France’s TF1 television channel what happened between him and the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, “did not involve violence, constraint or aggression.”

Still, he acknowledged, it “was not only an inappropriate relationship, but more than that, it was an error.”

Strauss-Kahn, a Socialist politician who was widely considered a top contender in next year’s presidential race until the case broke, said “it was a failing, a failing vis-a-vis my wife, my children and my friends but also a failing vis-a-vis the French people, who had vested their hopes for change in me.

“I think it was a moral failing and I am not proud of it. I regret it infinitely. I have regretted it everyday for the past four months and I think I’m not done regretting it,” he said at the start of the 20-minute interview. Much of the exchange came off as staged, with Strauss-Kahn appearing calm and unruffled throughout and not surprised by the questions.

Strauss-Kahn’s initial contrition was peppered with anger at his accuser, a Guinean immigrant who maintained he attacked her after she came into his room at New York’s Sofitel hotel to clean.

He said the New York prosecutor concluded “Nafissatou Diallo lied about everything – not only about her past, that’s of no importance, but also about what happened. The (prosecutor’s) report says, it’s written there, that ‘she presented so many different versions of what happened that I can’t believe a word.'”

Strauss-Kahn suggested that financial motives might have been behind Diallo’s accusations.

He also dismissed as “imaginary” separate claims by a French writer that he tried to rape her during a 2003 interview, again insisting “no act of aggression, no violence” had taken place between the two.

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