French Prosecutors Drop Rape Case Against Strauss-Kahn

Posted October 13th, 2011 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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French prosecutors have dropped an investigation into a French writer's accusations against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, saying they have evidence of a sexual assault but the case is too old.

French writer Tristane Banon claimed Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003, but prosecutors say the evidence suggests only the lesser charge of sexual assault could apply.

The Paris prosecutor's office said in a statement Thursday evidence that could be considered a sexual assault was recognized, but it could not pursue the case because the statute of limitations on that charge is three years. The statement said it could not prosecute a charge of attempted rape, which has a longer statute of limitations, for lack of sufficient evidence.

Strauss-Kahn has called the charge “imaginary.” He admitted to police that he made an advance on Banon but that he used no violence and their encounter was consensual.

Banon has said she may bring a civil lawsuit against Strauss-Kahn if prosecutors do not move forward with a criminal prosecution. Her lawyer said Thursday's announcement proves that his client's case has substance. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have filed a counter-suit for defamation.

The former IMF chief returned home to France last month after separate sexual assault charges against him were dropped in the United States.

He resigned as the IMF's managing director in May after being arrested and charged with the sexual assault and attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York.

U.S. prosecutors dropped the case, saying the credibility of the accuser, Guinean immigrant Nafissatou Diallo, was in question. Strauss-Kahn still faces a civil lawsuit by the maid.

Strauss-Kahn told a French television station last month that he regrets having sex with Diallo, calling the incident a “moral failing.” But he said his encounter with the maid was also consensual, insisting there was no aggression or violence involved.

Strauss-Kahn says he has ruled out a run for the French presidency next year, calling his political future “uncertain.”