The mother of the writer accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape says she had “brutal” sex with the former IMF chief. Christopher Dickey on the saga’s sordid new twist.
That the winsome Tristane Banon resented her mother’s negligence and despised her father’s absence we can glean from her first novel, I Forgot to Kill Her. From her second work of autobiographical fiction, The Trapeze Artist, we learned that the young freelance writer grew up to be the kind of waifish beauty that older men like to keep under their wings and their sheets. She moved around the world of the Paris glitterati, as the weekly news magazine Marianne put it, like “a terribly fragile butterfly of the night.” But since Banon filed a criminal complaint in France two weeks ago against Dominique Strauss-Kahn alleging that he attempted to rape her in 2003, she has been studied by the French press like a praying mantis in a killing jar.
Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he’s called, had already been disgraced in the United States for alleged criminal sexual assault and attempted rape of an African immigrant maid at the luxury Sofitel in Manhattan on May 14. The case forced his resignation as managing director of the International Monetary Fund and almost certainly ended his hopes to one day be the president of France. Then, just as problems with the maid’s credibility looked likely to set Strauss-Kahn free, at least, Banon resurrected her oft-told and previously oft-ignored tale of horror at his hands eight years ago: “I pulled back, pulled back some more and fell on the floor,” she wrote in chapter 13 of The Trapeze Artist (2006), which even Banon’s lawyer refers to as a reasonable representation of her encounter with Strauss-Kahn in an almost-empty Left Bank flat. “He follows me down. He plays; he sniggers. He imposes on me, too close, his pig’s head.” And it gets more sordid still.
But nobody was quite prepared for the latest twist on the French end of the DSK soap opera this morning: the respected weekly l’Express is now reporting on its website that Banon’s mother, Anne Mansouret, 65, told detectives that she herself had sex—consensual but “brutal” sex—with DSK in the Paris office of an international organization one day in 2000. And according to the same report that is one reason that when Mansouret’s daughter came to her in 2003 asking her what to do after the alleged DSK attack, Mansouret discouraged her from pressing charges. Mansouret didn’t want to tell her about the earlier incident.