Sex charges dismissed against Strauss-Kahn
Prosecutors doubted credibility of accusations against ex-IMF chief and also found DNA and medical evidence inconclusive
Charges have been officially dismissed against Dominique Strauss-Kahn now that a New York appeals court has denied a request for a special prosecutor in the sex assault case, news agencies reported.
The appeals court agreed with another court’s ruling that there was no legal basis for a special prosecutor.
Attorneys for the woman accusing the former leader of the International Monetary Fund had requested one because they felt Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance was biased.
Prosecutors on Tuesday argued the case should be dismissed because they did not have faith in the credibility of the hotel worker who accused Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in his luxury suite in May.
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said he would dismiss the charges, pending the ruling from the appeals court. The denial means Strauss-Kahn is free.
Prosecutors conceded that DNA evidence showed sexual contact but not necessarily a forced encounter. They also found medical findings inconclusive.
A civil case against Strauss-Kahn is still pending in New York, and investigators are probing another attempted rape accusation against him in France.
Strauss-Kahn quit as chief of the IMF after the accusations by the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, in May, which he denies.
The testimony of Diallo, a 33-year-old maid from Guinea, was not convincing beyond a reasonable doubt to present to a jury, prosecutors said in a court filing on Monday.
It said Diallo, the cleaner at New York’s Sofitel Hotel who said Strauss-Kahn had forced her to perform oral sex on May 14 “has not been been truthful on matters great and small”.
Diallo’s lawyers said earlier on Monday that they would request a special prosecutor to pursue the criminal case, though legal experts said such a move would have little chance of succeeding.
“She should not have her right to go to trial in a criminal case taken away by the Manhattan district attorney’s office,” The New York Times quoted Kenneth Thompson, her lawyer, as saying.
Strauss-Kahn was the leading contender for the April 2012 French presidential elections until Diallo made the accusations against him.
He was arrested and forced to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund a few days later.
Strauss-Kahn still faces the civil lawsuit filed by Diallo on August 8 and a complaint from French writer Tristane Banon who said he tried to rape her during a 2003 interview. Authorities in Paris are considering whether to press charges in that case.
Diallo’s credibility has teetered since late June when prosecutors disclosed that she made-up a story about being gang-raped for her US asylum application and allegedly lied about other aspects of her past.
That admission threatened her credibility as a witness, resulting in prosecutors releasing Strauss-Kahn from house arrest.
Diallo spoke out about the case for the first time in July [Al Jazeera]
Prosecutors also said that she also was not consistent about what she did after her encounter with Strauss-Kahn.
Furthermore, a law enforcement official said that she had alluded to Strauss-Kahn’s wealth in a recorded phone conversation with a jailed friend, and her bank account had been a repository for tens of thousands of dollars she could not explain.
Diallo said the jailed man had used the bank account without telling her and Thompson, Diallo’s lawyer, said that she mentioned Strauss-Kahn’s money in the telephone call only to say that her alleged attacker was influential.
Thompson has acknowledged problems in her past but said her story about what happened in the hotel room never wavered – that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her.
His defence lawyers have suggested any sexual encounter was consensual.