Former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a hotel maid.
Strauss-Kahn arrived at court in New York to a noisy reception; demonstrators, some wearing chamber maids’ uniforms, booed and shouted “Shame on you” as the 62-year-old entered, accompanied by his wife.
The case has cost Strauss-Kahn his job and a chance at the French presidency.
He faces a long jail term if convicted of charges including attempted rape. His not guilty plea before Judge Michael Obus is the start of what could be lengthy legal proceedings. His next appearance in court is scheduled for July 18.
A lawyer for the alleged victim, a 32-year-old African immigrant, said the woman would appear in court during the trial.
Strauss-Kahn arrived from the luxury town house in Manhattan’s TriBeCa district where he is living under 24-hour armed guard under the terms of his bail. He is also electronically tagged.
He was arrested on May 14 on a Paris-bound Air France plane, minutes before it was due to leave New York’s JFK airport.
He denies all the charges including attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.
Praised for his role tackling the 2007-09 global financial crisis and attempts to keep Europe’s debt crisis under control, Strauss-Kahn resigned as IMF managing director a few days after his arrest. A new head of the organisation has yet to be appointed.
Until his arrest, Strauss-Kahn had been expected to quit his IMF post for a different reason – a bid to become the Socialist candidate for president of France. He had been a strong favourite to beat conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy at the polls next year.