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French novelist plans to file attempted-rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn

July 4, 2011 |  6:16 pm

French writer Tristane Banon, a novelist and journalist, plans to file attempted-rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday, her lawyer said Monday. Strauss-Kahn is the former chief of the International Monetary Fund and French finance minister who was arrested in the U.S. in May on suspicion of sexual assault; last week, New York prosecutors expressed doubts about aspects of their case.

Banon is the author of three novels, a novella and a collection of essays. It was while researching the essay collection in early 2003 that her interview with Strauss-Kahn ended with a sexual assault, she has said. She initially revealed the attempted rape in 2007 on a French television talk show, although Strauss-Kahn's name was bleeped out during the broadcast.

Strauss-Kahn was indicted in New York on sexual assault charges in May after an incident with a maid at his hotel. Last week, as questions arose about what proseuctors called a "substantial credibility issue" with the accuser, a judge lifted Strauss-Kahn's house arrest.

Before his arrest in New York, Strauss-Kahn was considered a possible contender for the French presidency. Banon's charges may affect whether or not he participates in the election.

Banon's mother, Anne Mansouret, who advised her against coming forward with her accusations at the time of the alleged assault, is a Socialist councillor; Strauss-Kahn is also a prominent member of the Socialist party. Mansouret has said that she regrets talking her daughter out of filing a complaint at the time.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have said their client has instructed them to prepare a complaint for slander against Banon.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Tristane Banon in May 2011. Credit: Charles Platiau / Reuters