It was the event that France had been waiting for.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has appeared in a live interview on prime time television, the first he has given since his arrest for allegedly attempting to rape a hotel maid in New York in May.
A crowd of women’s rights campaigners gathered outside the studio in Paris to register their anger.
Strauss-Kahn began by giving his own account of the hotel encounter. “There was no coercion, no aggression, nothing criminal,” he said. “Those are the prosecutor’s words, not mine. It was inappropriate – a weakness. In fact I think it is worse than a weakness – morally, it was a mistake.
“The French had invested their hopes for change in me and I didn’t measure up. I really have let them down…The prosecutor’s report says there were no marks or injuries. He said Nafissatou had lied about everything.”
Strauss-Khan denied the allegations and the criminal charges against him were dropped last month.
He still faces a civil lawsuit in the US, while in France he has been questioned by police over a separate allegation of sexual assault by a journalist, which he also denies.