Sexual Assault Charges Against Strauss-Kahn Dropped

Posted August 23rd, 2011 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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A New York judge has dismissed sexual assault charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one day after prosecutors moved to have the case dropped.

Tuesday's ruling brings Strauss-Kahn close to freedom for the first time since he was arrested in May, after a maid alleged he sexually assaulted her when she went to clean his room.

After the dismissal, an appeals court rejected his accuser's request for a special prosecutor to continue the criminal case.

Strauss-Kahn later said the past months have been “a nightmare” for him and his family. In a written statement, he thanked supporters and said he is grateful that the Manhattan district attorney agreed to dismiss the case.

Prosecutors filed their request Monday, saying the evidence did not prove that he engaged in a forced sexual encounter. They expressed concern about the accuser's reliability, saying she has not been truthful on “great and small” matters, and that they could not ask a jury to believe her when they no longer believed her themselves.

Guinean-born Nafissatou Diallo accuses the former IMF chief of attacking her at a luxury Manhattan hotel on May 14. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers deny the allegation and suggest that any sexual encounter was consensual.

Protesters gathered outside the courthouse Tuesday, criticizing the move to drop the charges.

Earlier, the judge denied Diallo's request for a special prosecutor. Her attorney argued that the Manhattan district attorney's office was biased.

Diallo's case faltered in late June when prosecutors revealed inconsistencies in her account of what happened. They also disclosed that she had fabricated a story about being raped in her native Guinea for her U.S. asylum application.

Efforts to clarify what happened between Strauss-Kahn and Diallo will likely continue in civil court, where she has sued him. He also faces an investigation in France of another attempted rape accusation.

Before the incident, Strauss-Kahn was a leading contender to challenge French President Nicolas Sarkozy in an election next year. He resigned his IMF post after being arrested on the rape allegations, which significantly eroded his support among French voters.

He has been free on bail since a brief period of detention after his arrest.