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After a second woman accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her, the alleged victims and perpetrator are trading charges in what seems like a made-for-media case.

Tristane Banon says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her more than eight years ago, long before a 32-year-old chambermaid alleged that she was also sexually assaulted by the same man at a New York hotel in May.

The US case seems on the verge of collapse after the New York Times reported on questionable aspects of the accuser's background, and her lawyers say they are now suing for falsely accusing her of working as a prostitute.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have threatened Banon with a defamation lawsuit for her charges, but her lawyer said she would not be intimidated by the threats.

"I expect that Ms Tristane Banon be recognised as a victim. I expect that for once in this country it is not a case of the rights of the powerful opposed to the rights of those who have nothing," said David Koubbi, Banon's lawyer.

While it remains possible for Strauss-Kahn to run for political office in his home country of France, the court of public opinion may not let him off so easily.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Paris.

Source: Al Jazeera