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New digs for ex-IMF head accused of rape attempt

NEW YORK (AP) — From the outside, it looks like pretty good digs.

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn moved late Wednesday from a temporary space in a high-rise to a posh, four-bedroom brick town house in a tony Manhattan neighborhood where he will remain under house arrest as he awaits trial on charges he tried to rape a hotel maid.

The stately red brick town home in Tribeca rents for a cool $50,000 a month or, for those looking to settle, is on the market for $13,995,000.

But, despite the home theater, gym, waterfall showers, Japanese paper walls, fireplace and renovations featuring the “finest materials and craftsmanship,” Strauss-Kahn is a prisoner, his every movement monitored electronically, armed guards and cameras watching him around the clock. He will be allowed out for court, doctor’s visits and religious services. Prosecutors must be notified at least six hours before he goes anywhere, and he can’t be out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Under his terms of house arrest, he can receive up to four visitors at a time besides family.

Security is being managed by Stroz Friedberg, the same company that handled house arrest for disgraced financier Bernard Madoff. Strauss-Kahn’s agreement is expected to cost him about $200,000 a month.

The one-time French presidential contender was smiling as he got into a gray SUV under tight security Wednesday evening. The new space is in Tribeca, about a mile away from where he was staying, according to a person familiar with his housing arrangements. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The building, which has five bathrooms, is on a cobblestone street and is close to the courthouse where Strauss-Kahn will attend hearings.

Attorney William Taylor told reporters Wednesday that his client was “doing fine” under house arrest.

“Not much he can do,” Taylor said.

Strauss-Kahn is free on $1 million bail under strict house arrest after prosecutors feared he might flee given his international status and wealth. He spent about a week in jail on Rikers Island after he was arrested May 14 following accusations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in his room at the Sofitel near Manhattan’s Times Square. His lawyers maintain Strauss-Kahn is not guilty.

Bail plans hit a snag late last week when tenants at the Upper East Side apartment building initially secured for his house arrest refused to accept him because of unwanted media attention. He was briefly housed at a high-rise near Wall Street, where a throng of media has been camped out at the building, broadcasting as his wife, former journalist Anne Sinclair, entered and left the building.

The town house includes jetted tubs and steam showers, an oversized skylight and a fireplace. A large terrace includes potted plants, a gas grill and Japanese paper walls for privacy.

Court officials confirmed that a new location had been agreed upon Wednesday for the economist, but didn’t give any details. Spokesman David Bookstaver said only that the judge had approved the plan. The attorneys in the case filed court papers late in the day, but the judge didn’t immediately release them.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office didn’t comment.

Strauss-Kahn was pulled from a jetliner bound for Paris after the 32-year-old West African immigrant reported the encounter to hotel staff. She told police she entered his room around noon and he emerged from the bathroom naked, and then chased her around his luxury suite before grabbing her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

Earlier this week, people familiar with the investigation told the AP that evidence found on the woman’s work clothing matched Strauss-Kahn’s DNA.

It was the first forensic evidence to link Strauss-Kahn to the woman — and it’s also on track with what his lawyers have suggested would be his defense.

Meanwhile, the district attorney’s office has beefed up its team by adding two senior prosecutors to the case against Strauss-Kahn, according to The New York Times. The report, which appeared on the Times website late Wednesday, cited several people briefed on the matter.

Strauss-Kahn resigned nearly a week ago from the IMF, a powerful international institution that lends billions of dollars to troubled countries.

In his resignation he said he wanted to protect the institution.

“To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me,” he said.

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Associated Press writers Karen Zraick and Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.

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