Strauss-Kahn's French accuser: Seeing him freed "makes me sick"

Strauss-Kahn's French accuser: Seeing him freed "makes me sick"

The French author who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her eight years ago has said seeing him freed from house arrest and dining out in a New York restaurant sickened her and that she was looking forward to her day in court.

In an interview with L'Express magazine published Tuesday Tristane Banon defended her decision to file a lawsuit accusing Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape days after it emerged a separate sexual assault case against him in New York might collapse.

Banon's lawyer said Monday he would file the suit on Tuesday, DPA reported.

The 32-year-old author, who was 23 at the time of the alleged attack, said: "I can't stand hearing that I'm a liar because I have not filed a complaint."

"For eight years, I have carried this story alone, I've heard rumours, lies told about me," she said.

Banon said she hoped Strauss-Kahn would be cleared of all charges in the United States and return to France.

"I'm hoping for DSK's return, so that we can go to court," she said.

Banon first went public with the allegations in a television interview in 2007, in which Strauss-Kahn's name was bleeped out.

She claimed the former Socialist finance minister had attacked her during an interview for a book project at a Paris apartment and tried to rip off her clothes.

After he was arrested in New York, Banon said she was considering pressing charges but later decided against, saying she did not want to be "instrumentalized" by US prosecutors.

Explaining her volte-face, Banon said she couldn't bear seeing Strauss-Kahn freed from house arrest and going for dinner in an upmarket restaurant with friends. "It makes me sick," she said.

"I know well half of the people will believe me, the other half not," she said.

"There's no good solution, except (this) one which means that I will finally be able to look myself in the mirror."

Banon restated her account of the events which took place in a Paris apartment, saying Strauss-Kahn tried to hold her hand during the interview and that when she tried to leave, he took her by the arm.

"I asked him to let me go and the fight began from there," she said.

She also repeated that the Socialist politician who became the frontrunner in the 2012 presidential race after Strauss-Kahn's arrest, Francois Hollande, "knew the story."

Strauss-Kahn's French lawyers on Monday said he intended to sue Banon for slander and said the events she described were "imaginary."

Banon's announced lawsuit means that, even if he were to be cleared of any wrongdoing in the US, Strauss-Kahn could face another case in France on his return.

Attempted rape in France falls under the same category as rape and carries a sentence of up to 15 years. The attack must be reported within 10 years of taking place.

Sexual assault carries up to 10 years in prison and must be reported within three years.

Once she files the suit, police will begin a preliminary investigation after which the public prosecutor's office may decide to charge Strauss-Kahn or demand a further investigation.

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