Dominique Strauss-Kahn 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK- A New York judge dropped all criminal sexual
assault charges against ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday after
prosecutors lost faith in the credibility of his accuser.
RELATED:Strauss-Kahn faces hurdle at home as US woes ease
But the formal
end of the case awaited the outcome of a last-ditch emergency appeal.
Alleged rape victim’s lies weaken case against Strauss-Kahn
York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus accepted the prosecutors' request
for dismissal of all charges. The move left the man once seen as the leading
contender to be the next president of France close to freedom and the chance to
try to rebuild his tarnished political career.
The former head of the
International Monetary Fund appeared in court with his wife Anne Sinclair by his
side and the pair left the hearing smiling, amid a throng of media.
later issued a statement saying his life in recent months had been a "nightmare"
and that he looked forward to life returning to more normal
Strauss-Kahn was not yet free to return to France, after New York
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus stayed his dismissal of the case for an
A lawyer for the accuser, hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo,
had requested a special prosecutor to continue the criminal case.
on Tuesday, Obus dismissed the request. But Diallo's lawyers appealed that
decision. Obus said the appeal's court would rule on that later on Tuesday,
meaning Strauss-Kahn must await that verdict before he is free to return to
Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney's office on
Monday outlined how they lost faith in the accuser, hotel maid Nafissatou
Diallo, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea who alleged Strauss-Kahn attacked
her in his luxury hotel suite and forced her to perform oral sex.
her account of the assault remained steadfast, Diallo told a series of lies
about her past and about what happened immediately after the incident in the
$3,000-a-night suite in New York's Sofitel hotel on May 14, undermining her
credibility, prosecutors said.
Physical evidence was unable to prove lack
of consent, leaving the case hinging on the believability of the
But with her testimony changing again and again and as more and
more lies about her past emerged, prosecutors concluded in a 25-page filing, "If
we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so."
Strauss-Kahn thanked friends in France and in the United States "who have
believed in my innocence" and said he was "most deeply grateful to my wife and
family." "We will have nothing further to say about this matter and we look
forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life,"
he said.Political Future?
Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, could make a dramatic return to
French public life, but with his image tarnished by widespread reporting in
France about his sexual behavior, most political analysts doubt he would risk
competing with President Nicolas Sarkozy on April's ballot.
been said, a man with the abilities of Dominique Strauss-Kahn can be useful to
his country in the months and years to come," Francois Hollande, the frontrunner
among six candidates for the Socialist primary, told France Inter
Asked whether Strauss-Kahn could take part in the October vote to
choose the party's presidential candidate, Hollande said: "That depends on him."
French Socialists welcomed the dropping of charges and said they hoped
Strauss-Kahn would return to public life where his expertise on global economics
was sorely needed.
Socialist presidential hopeful Manuel Valls called the
affair "an extreme waste for Strauss-Kahn and for France" and even ruling party
Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said he deserved better and looked forward to
listening to his ideas.