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IMF chief released from jail under house arrest


AP -- Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from jail Friday to house arrest in a landmark apartment building near ground zero after the luxury apartment where he had arranged to stay fell through because the neighbors objected to the media frenzy.

Prosecutors said he would stay temporarily in lower Manhattan while his family and lawyers look for more permanent housing for him to await trial on charges he tried to rape a hotel maid.

Strauss-Kahn was moved from a Rikers Island cell into a 21-story granite skyscraper called the Empire Building, a person familiar with his housing arrangements told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

The original plan was for Strauss-Kahn to move into a luxury residential hotel under armed guard on Manhattan's well-to-do Upper East Side. Even though the address was never officially released, police and media converged on the building, the Bristol Plaza.

"Last night there was an effort by the media to invade the building,'' Strauss-Kahn attorney William Taylor said. ``That is why the tenants in the building will not accept his living there.'' While Strauss-Kahn's family had a lease and could have stayed, he decided to leave ``out of respect for the residents.''

Late in the day, after the snag over where the banker would serve his house arrest had been resolved, Strauss-Kahn was released from the city's Rikers Island jail on $1 million cash bail. The 62-year-old former managing director of the powerful International Monetary Fund had been behind bars since last Saturday.

During his time at the Empire Building, at least one armed guard will be watching him at all times, and he will have to wear an ankle bracelet. His apartment's exterior doors will be outfitted with alarms and video cameras, on orders from the judge who granted bail.

 The apartment building on Broadway in Manhattan's Financial District, several blocks from the World Trade Center site, rents two-bedroom apartments starting at $4,250 a month, with 9-foot (2.7-meter) ceilings, bay windows and walk-in closets.

Strauss-Kahn cannot leave his temporary housing at all. Once he is settled somewhere permanent, he will be allowed to leave only for court dates, meetings with his lawyers, doctor's appointments and weekly religious services, and he will have to give prosecutors at last six hours' notice. No trial date has been set.

He is accused of attacking a 32-year-old housekeeper in his $3,000-a-night hotel suite. The West African immigrant told police he emerged naked from the bathroom, chased her down and forced her to perform oral sex. He has denied the allegations.

 
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