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Kahn pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges

New York: IMF`s former boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Monday pleaded not guilty in a brief court appearance to charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid here last month.

Strauss-Kahn, who had to step down as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund following the disgraceful allegations, arrived in the court house here to shouts of `Shame on you!` from protesters of the hotel housekeepers` union.

The 62-year-old French national pleaded not guilty to the charges in a procedure that lasted just four minutes.

The next court hearing is scheduled for July 18.

The proceedings were held in a jam-packed courtroom with about 100 media persons in attendance. Strauss-Kahn was accompanied by his wife Anne Sinclair who held his arm.

He has denied the charges and his defence lawyers have indicated they will argue that any sexual encounter was consensual.

Strauss-Kahn was pulled out of a Paris-bound flight on May 14 after he left his Manhattan hotel suit in haste and the 32-year-old chambermaid alleged that he tried to rape her.

Prosecutors have also accused him of forcing the victim to perform oral sex.

Strauss-Kahn, who has been under house arrest with an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet, for the past few weeks, has been staying in a multimillion-dollar luxury townhouse just blocks away from the court.

The case has generated a lot of interest in France where Strauss-Kahn was considered a prospective presidential candidate for next year`s elections.

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