The latest Dominique Strauss-Kahn twist

Last we left the French politician, he had been freed from house arrest after the veracity of his accuser's story came into question; French society contemplated his political future; and a French writer, Tristane Banon, said even if he didn't assault the New York City maid, he did try to sexually attack her back in 2003 -- allegations that are being investigated by French police.

Today, a new twist has emerged. In an interview with a French newspaper, the writer's mother, a prominent Socialist Party member, said she had sex with the former IMF chief back in 2000, an encounter that was "consensual but clearly brutal." She said it was something she never wanted to repeat.

Anne Mansouret, 65, said Strauss-Kahn acted with the "vulgarity of a soldier." And, he had a dominant instinct when it came to sexual encounters.

Mansouret said she felt she needed to speak out now because an image was forming of Strauss-Kahn as a "seducer, not a rapist."

The story gets a little more twisted when you consider that Mansouret was close friends with the politician's former wife, who also happens to be godmother to Banon.

Banon has called Strauss-Kahn a "rutting chimpanzee" and "very violent." She told French TV back in 2007 that she had interviewed him several years earlier for a book she was working on. He tried to hold her hand during the discussion and the hand-holding segued into sexual advances. He became violent and the two scuffled on the floor of his apartment. Eventually, she "kicked him several times, he unbuttoned my bra ... and tried to unzip my jeans." But she was able to get away.

Strauss-Kahn has called her allegations "imaginary" and has filed a lawsuit against her for slander.

If the Strauss-Kahn affair has taught us anything, it's that it is ridiculous to rush to judgment. We'll see where this new case goes. But, the more that comes out about Strauss-Kahn in France, the easier it is to understand why he doesn't seem to be in any hurry to leave the United States.  

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‘This is the most humble day of my career’: 5 key moments from Murdoch’s first hour of testimony

The room where the Murdochs are currently testifying looks more like a place you'd hold a school board meeting rather than a parliamentary committee hearing.  

Murdoch is very low energy and seems to not have a firm grasp of all the information being discussed. He takes long pauses before answering questions. As far as visuals go, Murdoch has had his head slumped down at times when he is not testifying -- looking as tired as he has said he feels.

According to the Guardian, the News Corp. strategy that seems to be emerging is to have James "talk as much as possible and keep the interventions of Rupert Murdoch to a minimum. The role of James Murdoch is to ‘translate' his father's curt responses into comprehensive replies."

But for the most part committee members have directed their questions to the senior Murdoch and not his son, who has been eager to answer. In fact, Rupert frequently has looked toward James, saying it's more appropriate that he answers.

But, on more than one occasion, MPs have said, "If we can just return to your father..."

A few key statements Rupert Murdoch has made so far:

On the reason he decided to shut down the News of the World:

"We had broken our trust with our readers."

Was it a "commercial" decision to shut down the paper?

"Far from [it]."

Is he [Rupert] responsible for "this whole fiasco?"


When asked who is, he replied:

"The people I trusted to run it and maybe the people they trusted. I worked with Mr. Hinton [Les Hinton, the former News International exec and Dow Jones chief who resigned last week] for 52 years and I would trust him with my life."

Did this scandal cross the ocean to the United States?

"I cannot believe it happened by anyone in America."

A moment of levity: One MP asked why the prime minister had Murdoch come in to 10 Downing Street through the back door, since even world leaders enter through the front.

"I was asked, I just did what I was told."

Murdoch said he was also asked to go through the back door by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The audience laughed.