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Strauss-Kahn released from house arrest
Former IMF chief freed after evidence from accuser is questioned by prosecutors, but judge says case is not over.
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2011 03:43

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, has been released from house arrest in the sexual assault case against him.

The French politician appeared briefly in a New York courtroom on Friday after reports that prosecutors had grave doubts about the credibility of Strauss-Kahn's accuser.

The judge stressed that the move does not mean that the "case is over" and prosecutors did not agree to dismiss the sexual assault case against Strauss-Kahn.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested in May, accused of trying to rape a hotel maid, and has been confined to a Manhattan apartment.

The 32-year-old hotel maid accused Strauss-Kahn of chasing her through his luxury suite in New York, trying to pull down her pantyhose and forcing her to perform oral sex.

He denies the allegations, saying the relationship was consensual.

His passport remained surrendered, and he will not yet be allowed to leave the country. However, one of his attorneys, Benjamin Brafman, said Strauss-Kahn would be free to travel within the US.

"It is a great relief, another of Strauss-Kahn's attorneys, William Taylor, said, adding that the case underscores "how easy it is for people to be charged with serious crimes and for there to be a rush to judgement."

"It is so important in this country that people, especially the media, refrain from judgement until the facts are all in," he said.

'Violent assault'

Revelations of major problems with his accuser's credibility were first reported in The New York Times.

Reports say investigators have come to believe that the woman lied about some of her activities in the hours around the alleged attack and about her own background.

Jacky Rowland reports on reactions in Paris

Prosecutors think she also lied about details on her application for asylum in the US, including saying she had been raped in her native Guinea, the newspaper said.

The accuser's attorney did not back down on the seriousness of the charges.

"From Day One she has described a violent sexual assault that Dominique Strauss-Kahn committed against her," attorney Ken Thompson said.

"She has described that sexual assault many times, to prosecutors and to me, and she has never once changed a single thing about that encounter," he said. 

Addressing reporters outside the court, he said the woman had walked into the suite to clean after being told no one was inside.

"Then Strauss-Kahn came running out of one of those rooms naked towards her and he grabbed her beasts first and started to attack her. He then grabbed her vagina with so much force that he hurt her ... that he bruised her vagina," Thompson said.

"When Dominique Strauss-Kahn threw the victim to the floor he tore a ligament in her shoulder. She may now need surgery for the damage he caused to her shoulder".

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested in New York on charges of sexual assault. He resigned from the IMF on May 19 and pleaded not guilty on June 6, vehemently denying the allegations. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Strauss-Kahn's arrest also shook up French politics as he was a leading contender for French presidency from the Socialist Party. His supporters claim that he was being set up. If charges against him are dropped, it could throw the presidential race in France wide open.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde was appointed as the new IMF chief on Tuesday.

Source:
Agencies
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