Former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Sunday admitted to a “moral failing” but denied he had sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid, saying “what happened was not violence, constraint or aggression,” in a widely-anticipated interview on French television.
“No criminal act. This is what the prosecutor says, not me,” Strauss-Kahn said.
"I am not proud of it and I regret it,” said Strauss-Kahn, who has kept silent since he was taken off a place at JFK Airport in May and subsequently charged with attempted rape of a hotel chamber maid.
In the interview on French TV station TF1, Strauss-Kahn, known as DSK in France, sought to clear his name and close a chapter. A New York judge dismissed the case against him in August.
Four months after he was first arrested, a poll carried out by French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche and research firm Ifop showed public opinion in France is still divided over Strauss-Kahn.
Fifty-three percent of French polled said they would like to see Strauss-Kahn announce his retirement from politics. Six in ten socialist voters expect him to outline which role he would play in the next presidential campaign.
Many had expected him to run against French President Nicolas Sarkozy in France’s 2012 presidential elections, but Strauss-Kahn said he would “obviously” not be among the presidential candidates following the scandal.
“Yes, I wanted to be candidate. Obviously I won’t be candidate now,” he said.
In the interview with Claire Chazal, a friend of Strauss-Kahn’s wife Anne Sinclair, the former IMF chief said he had been “very scared” when he was sent to prison in New York.
“I endured terrible attacks and I lost a lot,” he said.
Asked whether he had been a victim of a trap or a conspiracy, as some have suggested, Strauss-Kahn said: “A trap is possible. A plot, we’ll see.”
“I would not have been able to deal with this without her,” he said of the unwavering support of his wife. “I hurt her and I am angry with myself.”
“I respect women … I understand it has shocked them and I have paid a heavy price,” he said.