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Ex-IMF leader may get bail eased in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) - Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn may get his pricey bail and house arrest arrangement eased in his sexual assault case, a person familiar with the case said Thursday.

It's expected there will be a change in the bail conditions at a newly scheduled court date Friday, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public in court. The person declined to detail what the new bail arrangements might be.

Strauss-Kahn lawyer William W. Taylor would say only that the hearing was to review the bail plan. The Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment.

Accused of trying to rape a hotel housekeeper, Strauss-Kahn has been under armed guard in a Manhattan townhouse after posting a total of $6 million in cash bail and bond. He denies the allegations.

Strauss-Kahn was held without bail for nearly a week after his May arrest. His lawyers ultimately persuaded a judge to release him by agreeing to extensive — and expensive — conditions, including an ankle monitor, surveillance cameras and armed guards. He can leave for only for court, weekly religious services and visits to doctors and his lawyers, and prosecutors must be notified at least six hours before he goes anywhere.

The security measures were estimated to cost him about $200,000 a month, on top of the $50,000-a-month rent on a town house in trendy TriBeCa. He settled there after a hasty and fraught househunt: A plan to rent an apartment in a tony building on Manhattan's Upper East Side fell through after residents complained about the hubbub as reporters and police milled around the building.

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Under New York law, judges base bail decisions on factors including defendants' characters, financial resources and criminal records, as well as the strength of the case against them — all intended to help gauge how likely they are to flee if released.

Defendants and prosecutors can raise the issue of bail at any point in a case. It's common, if asking a judge to revisit a bail decision, to argue that new information or new proposed conditions change how one or more of the factors should be viewed.

The 32-year-old maid told police that Strauss-Kahn chased her down a hallway in his $3,000-a-night suite in the Sofitel hotel, tried to pull down her pantyhose and forced her to perform oral sex before she broke free.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have said the encounter wasn't forcible, and that they have unreleased information that could "gravely undermine the credibility" of the housekeeper. Her lawyer has said she is prepared to testify despite a "smear campaign" against her.

The Associated Press generally does not identify accusers in sex crime cases unless they agree to it.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was in New York on a personal trip. He left the hotel shortly after the alleged assault — to have lunch with a relative, his attorneys have said.

During his initial bail hearings, prosecutors noted that Strauss-Kahn was arrested on a Paris-bound plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and that they could not compel his return from France if he fled. His lawyers have underscored that it was a long-planned flight, and they've said he wants to return to court to clear his name.

He resigned his IMF post after his arrest.

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