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Court papers show Strauss-Kahn’s statements after arrest

NEW YORK » About 15 minutes after police detectives from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey pulled Dominique Strauss-Kahn off a Paris-bound flight, he told them he had diplomatic immunity, according to a document filed by prosecutors on Thursday.

After he was handcuffed, Strauss-Kahn — then the managing director of the International Monetary Fund — asked to speak to someone from the French consulate and requested that his handcuffs be secured in the front rather than behind his back. When it became clear that he would miss his flight, he asked to make a call so he could let people know he would not be at a meeting the next day.

These exchanges were among a series of 17 brief statements that prosecutors say Strauss-Kahn made to the police on May 14, in the hours after they allege he sexually assaulted a housekeeper who came to clean his hotel suite in Midtown Manhattan. They range from the mundane — the police’s offers and Strauss-Kahn’s requests for food and water and to use a bathroom — to the sometimes coarse realities of the criminal justice system, like his complaints that his handcuffs were too tight and his eventual statement that he would not (in fact, could not) assert diplomatic immunity.

Strauss-Kahn also repeated concerns about a meeting scheduled for the next day, most likely a planned session with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

When Strauss-Kahn first spoke to the two Port Authority detectives after he had stepped off the aircraft, he apparently thought they were employees from his hotel who had come to bring him his missing cellphone. Indeed, the first exchanges listed in the document were by telephone, because when he called the hotel to ask about his phone, police detectives investigating the reported sexual assault listened in.

"Do you have my cellphone?" he asked Detectives Terry Ng and Dewan Maharaj on the jetway. They asked to see his passport and told him to accompany them.

Minutes later, Strauss-Kahn asked a police supervisor who met him at the gate, "What is this about?" It was a question he would repeat twice in the next 30 minutes. The first time, he was told that New York police detectives needed to talk to him about an incident in a hotel. He did not respond. Later, he again expressed concern about his meeting the next day.

The statements were detailed in court papers filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office: a notification known as a voluntary disclosure form, which prosecutors are required to provide to defense lawyers within 15 days of a defendant’s arraignment.

The papers were dated Tuesday, but it was unclear when they were provided to Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, William W. Taylor III and Benjamin Brafman. Taylor declined to comment on the contents of the documents.

It was not until nearly five hours after he was pulled off the flight, and after he had been driven from the airport to the offices of the Police Department’s Manhattan Special Victims Squad, that Strauss-Kahn first asked to speak to a lawyer.

"I would like to call my lawyer, Bill Taylor; I need my cellphone," he said to Det. Miguel Rivera, who told him he would have to wait until other detectives returned because he did not have access to Strauss-Kahn’s phone.

"Do I need a lawyer?" Strauss-Kahn asked Rivera.

"It is your right to have one in this country if you want," Rivera responded. "I don’t know if you have some kind of diplomatic status."

"No, no, no, I’m not trying to use that," Strauss-Kahn said. "I just want to know if I need a lawyer."

"That is up to you," Rivera replied.

Almost two hours later, shortly before 11 p.m., when Detective Steven Lane from the Special Victims Squad asked him if he wanted to talk about "the incident," Strauss-Kahn replied: "My attorney has told me not to talk. I was ready to talk."

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