NEW YORK (AFP)
Time doesn't heal for Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Things only get
On Monday, exactly a year will have passed since his arrest on
charges of trying to rape a maid in a luxury New York hotel room.
Those charges were dropped and in September the French politician
and freshly resigned head of the International Monetary Fund
returned to Paris a free man.
Supporters thought this consummate mover and shaker could still
recover, perhaps become champion of France's Socialist Party and
defeat the vulnerable President Nicolas Sarkozy in upcoming
A Socialist did beat Sarkozy last week -- but it wasn't
Instead, Strauss-Kahn will watch Francois Hollande sworn in as
president on Tuesday, and will only be able to think: "That could
have been me."
The fabulous life of power and privilege Strauss-Kahn enjoyed up
to May 14 last year has been firmly yanked away.
He has not set foot again in the United States, where he once
enjoyed a luxury lifestyle as head of the IMF. And while the
criminal charges have been dropped, the maid's dogged lawyers are
pursuing a civil lawsuit for unspecified damages.
Strauss-Kahn, whose high-powered legal team deftly undermined the
maid's criminal case last year, was helpless earlier this month
when a judge rejected his claim to diplomatic immunity, ordering
the civil trial to go ahead.
For the first time in many years, Strauss-Kahn is experiencing
life as an ordinary man whose time in the limelight is only
tinged with bad memories.
In his native France, life is even more fraught.
At first it was assumed he would find refuge on home soil.
Supporters painted Strauss-Kahn as the real victim, an honorable
statesman abused by an out-of-control US judicial system.
But then a new sex scandal erupted and this time it was in
If US sex crime charges didn't quite kill his career, French
pimping charges apparently did.
The silver-haired VIP, the world figure and one-time
president-in-waiting was accused of leading a double life in
which prostitutes -- "luggage," he called them in a text message
-- were ferried to orgies.
Strauss-Kahn denied involvement in a prostitution ring. He said
he thought the young women at those orgies were there
Strauss-Kahn then played the ultimate victim card. In the midst
of the fevered French election he gave an interview suggesting
that Sarkozy had orchestrated his political demise.
But that appeared to have had little effect other than to inflict
collateral damage on his wife Anne Sinclair, an heiress and TV
She'd loyally stood by her disgraced husband throughout the
scandals -- and used her vast wealth to help foot the
multi-million-dollar tab in New York for lawyers, security,
investigators and luxury residences.
But her star is also falling. In the first round of the French
election she was a consultant to BFM-TV. In the second she was
"The serenity was gone," BFM-TV's boss Guillaume Dubois said
delicately. "It was better for everyone for her not to be
Almost invisible a year later is the Guinean maid whose
accusation touched off the drama.
Nafissatou Diallo gave a string of interviews last year to push
her case against Strauss-Kahn. Now her lawyers are keeping her
They are playing a long game that will keep Strauss-Kahn from
getting comfortable quickly: the trial may not even start for
about 15 months, according to the presiding judge.