- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn traded in his private cell at Rikers Island for temporary housing in a building within the police department’s “Ring of Steel” — a network of private and police cameras near where the World Trade Center stood.

During his time at the 21-story 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 on charges he tried to rape a hotel maid.

The 62-year-old former managing director of the powerful International Monetary Fund had been behind bars since last Saturday. He has denied the allegations.

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 Friday. “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.”

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn listens on May 19, 2011, to proceedings in his case in New York state Supreme Court. (Associated Press)
Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn listens on May 19, 2011, ... more >

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 and moved to the landmark apartment building in a granite skyscraper, 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 apartment building on Broadway in Manhattan’s Financial District, several blocks from ground zero, rents two-bedroom apartments starting at $4,250 a month, with 9-foot ceilings, bay windows and walk-in closets.

“This is intended to be temporary, meaning a few days, and in the meantime, efforts would be made to arrange for another suitable residence,” state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said.

Prosecutors had argued against Strauss-Kahn’s release, warning he might use his wealth and international connections to flee to France and thwart efforts to extradite him, like Roman Polanski, the French filmmaker whom U.S. authorities pursued for decades after he jumped bail in a 1977 child sex case.

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.

On Wednesday, Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director of the IMF, the powerful organization that makes emergency loans to countries in financial crisis.

In his resignation letter, he denied the allegations against him but said he would quit in order to “protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion” and to “devote all my strength, all my time and all my energy to proving my innocence.”

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Associated Press writers Tom Hays and Karen Zraick contributed to this report.