The Paris prosecutor's office said today it has opened a preliminary investigation into accusations by a French writer that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her. Novelist and journalist Tristane Banon filed a criminal complaint this week saying that Strauss-Kahn attacked her in an empty apartment in 2003 during an interview for a book project, struggling with her on the floor, trying to open her jeans and bra, and putting his fingers in her mouth and underwear.
The probe allows investigators from a special police brigade to question Banon and those close to her about the eight-year-old incident, an unnamed French official said. It could also allow French investigators to question Strauss-Kahn, though most likely not unless and until he returns to France. New York authorities have kept his passport pending a decision on what happens in the case there. Banon made no official report of being victimized after the alleged attack, and Banon's lawyer has not described any physical evidence that could be brought against Strauss-Kahn. (Click to see how the New York Times broke down the NYC case.)