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United States, France

Strauss-Kahn expected to plead not guilty

Reuters/Allison Joyce

Former IMF chief and French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears in Manhattan criminal court on Monday, where it is expected he will enter a formal plea of not guilty to all the charges levelled against him, including attempted rape.

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His lawyers are also expected to ask Judge Michael Obus for quick access to evidence collected by police in their forensic examination of the hotel room, the maid, and Strauss-Kahn himself.

In the US pre-trial process known as "discovery", parties are obliged to answer questions about their opponents' evidence collection.

A not guilty plea means that Strauss-Kahn will then be tried by a 12 person jury.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

His high profile lawyer, Benjamin Brafman told French television show channel M6 on Sunday "We have a chance to win this case because I don't think M. Strauss-Kahn is guilty of the charges. I believe he is going to be exonerated," he said.

Brafman indicated in a letter filed in court that he was unhappy with media leaks airing the evidence, which claims to show that the French politician's semen was found on the maid's shirt.

The lawyer has hinted at a possible argument that a sexual encounter did take place, but that it was consensual.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is accused on seven counts, including attempted rape, in what prosecutors say was an assault on a 32 year old immigrant from Guinea in West Africa, sent to clean his luxury suite at Manahattan's Sofitel on 14 May.

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