As the crow flies, it is not too far from a luxury hotel suite in midtown Manhattan to a cell at New York’s Rikers Island Jail.
But metaphorically speaking, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is now light years away from the life he led before his arrest last weekend.
Legal procedure means the 62-year-old may spend six months or more at Rikers Island awaiting trial on sex offences charges, which he denies.
“He is watched 24 hours a day, whether by camera and officer or just officer. The day room that he has access to, that allows him to watch television and see stories, whatever they are showing, is right next door to where he is. It is not like he has to travel far to do it. He gets no special treatment, three meals a day, he has one-on-one contact. He is on suicide watch, that we are very concerned about.” said a spokesman from the Prison Officers Union.
Lawyers admit that sex offence cases are notoriously difficult to unravel.
“Sex crimes are very difficult generally. It requires special training to be a sex crimes prosecutor because the cases have their own unique sorts of challenges. One of the challenges is that basically everything hinges heavily on the credibility of the complaining witness. These cases almost always come down to that in the end. This is not a case where there are going to be a lot of witnesses, generally speaking,” said legal expert Mark Galluzo.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with a string of offences, including attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. The most serious charge carries a five to 25-year prison sentence.