New York – Disgraced ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will plead not guilty, Monday, to charges that he  sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid.

The case has cost him his job and a chance at the French presidency.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on charges including attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said that the former head of the International Monetary Fund will plead not guilty in New York Supreme Court before Judge Michael Obus.

Strauss-Kahn is praised for his role tackling the 2007-09 global financial crisis and attempts to keep Europe’s debt crisis under control.

He resigned as IMF managing director a few days after his May 14 arrest in the first-class section of an Air France plane, minutes before it was to depart New York for Paris.

He was accused of attacking a 32-year-old African immigrant a few hours earlier when she came to clean his suite at the luxury Sofitel hotel in Midtown Manhattan, apparently believing it had been vacated.

Strauss-Kahn, who has four daughters, has denied the charges.

His arraignment on Monday will be the start of what could be lengthy legal proceedings.

Until the New York 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.

Instead, Strauss-Kahn spent four days in New York’s Rikers Island jail before he was released on one million dollars cash bail and five million dollars bond and placed under house arrest with 24-hour armed guards and electronic monitoring.

He spent a few days in a Lower Manhattan apartment but is now living in a luxurious townhouse rented by his wife — French television journalist Anne Sinclair — in Manhattan’s TriBeCa district.

The townhouse has a gym and home cinema and was last posted for sale for almost 14 million dollars.

A prosecutor estimated Strauss-Kahn would pay 200,000 dollars a month for his security arrangements.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer has said that although his client has a net worth of roughly two million dollars, his wife, an heiress, has “substantially greater assets.”

So far, Sinclair has not displayed any hesitation about using her personal wealth to help her husband.  (Reuters/NAN)


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