In a report that will fuel the conspiracy suspicions surrounding the Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrest, France's Le Monde reports that allies of Nicolas Sarkozy tried to ensnare Strauss-Kahn in another sex scandal just months before he allegedly attacked a hotel maid in New York. The French president's campaign allegedly leaked police reports to Le Monde that Strauss-Kahn was found having sex with a prostitute in a car in 2007. Sarkozy's allies caught wind of the would-be scandal shortly afterward. But at the time he was no threat to the French president since he had been defeated in France's Socialist primaries by Ségolene Royal. According to Le Monde, people "at the highest level" of Sarkozy's campaign decided to withhold the information. But that all changed this year when polls showed Strauss-Kahn ahead of Sarkozy in the run-up to the 2012 presidential elections. "It was in this context that the [police note from 2007] resurfaced," reports Le Monde.
That squares with earlier reports that Strauss-Kahn knew Sarkozy had dirt on him. At the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2008, Strauss-Kahn is rumored to have met Sarkozy in the men's bathroom telling the president to "tell your boys to stop (spreading rumors about my private life) or I'll go to court."
What's astonishing, from an American perspective, is Le Monde's decision not to pursue or publish details of the prostitution story. "Le Monde did not say in yesterday's article why it had declined to publish a story on the alleged incident," reports The Independent's John Lichfield. "The decision was, however, in line with the policy of French mainstream media not to report on the private lives of public figures."