I have just finished reading the lengthy minute by minute account of all of this in Liberation, the Socialist newspaper [while sitting in Le Metro cafe drinking a deca and eating a croissant au confiture -- bottom feeding the news is so much more fun in Paris.] Needless to say, all the Socialist Party bigwigs, including the other aspirants to the nomination, are stunned, and being very careful what they say. The two talking points [and it really does sound as though they have hastily coordinated their responses] are "he must be accorded the presumption of innocence" and "it does not sound like the Dominique Strauss-Kahn I have known for thirty years." His third wife said that she did not "believe for a second that the charges are true." Standing by your man is not, it appears, solely an American political custom.
In fact, it seems that it sounds very much like Strauss-Kahn, who has a long history of sexually predatory behavior, both in his official positions and as a Professor in Paris. There were the inevitable suggestions by a few that he had been the victim of a sting operation [thought why on earth the New York Police Department should care a fig for a French Socialist Party pol and IMF Chief I cannot imagine.] And of course it has also been suggested that this just shows how prudish Americans are. But that does not fly either. Had DSK been found in flagrente delicto with a consenting adult, no one in France would have cared, nor would the police in New York have taken notice. Indeed, Strauss-Kahn is well known to have had a number of affairs during his three marriages [Newt Gingrich, anyone?] But attempted rape and sequestration [which only fails to be kidnapping because no state lines were crossed] is quite another matter.
Strauss-Kahn was no dope to try to get back to France. The charges in New York State carry a potential twenty-five year jail sentence.
By the way, for TV fans, it is worth noting that at one point in the middle of the night the case was handed over to the Special Victims Unit of the NYPD. It seems there really is an SVU, not just on CSI: Special Victims Unit.
Speaking as a dedicated socialist, I am deeply depressed by this turn of events. We had a terrific chance to defeat Sarkozy and take back the Elysee Palace. Now, all bets are off.