Prosecutors tell NY judge to drop Strauss-Kahn case

Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:36pm GMT
 

By Daniel Trotta and Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss sexual assault charges against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Monday, a stunning reversal that could revive the political future of a man many had seen as the next president of France.

Prosecutors gave up hope they could convict Strauss-Kahn after losing confidence in their star witness, Nafissatou Diallo, 32, a hotel maid from Guinea who alleged that Strauss-Kahn emerged naked from the bathroom of his luxury suite on May 14 and forced her to perform oral sex.

The motion to dismiss, filed after a brief meeting with the maid and her lawyer, showed prosecutors "no longer have confidence" that Strauss-Kahn is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because the accuser's story kept shifting.

It urged the judge to drop all charges. Strauss-Kahn will appear in court on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. British time.

Only three months ago, Strauss-Kahn was the world's leading financial diplomat, confidant of presidents rescuing debt-ridden nations. His downfall was shocking. Pulled from a first-class seat on an Air France by police, he was thrown into New York City's gang-ridden Rikers jail on charges of attempted rape.

Prosecutors in May had said the maid's complaint was "truthful" and "consistent." But the case began to crumble when prosecutors found Diallo had lied on her immigration forms about a gang rape in Guinea, lied on her tax forms and gave three different versions of events surrounding the encounter in the Sofitel Hotel in Times Square.

"The nature and number of the complainant's falsehoods leave us unable to credit her version of events beyond a reasonable doubt, whatever the truth may be about the encounter between the complainant and the defendant," the court papers said.

"If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so."   Continued...

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair leave their temporary Manhattan residence in New York July 6, 2011.REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
 
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