Attempted rape and sexual assault charges levelled against ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn are on the verge of collapse after details emerged late last week that his accuser had repeatedly lied to law enforcement officials.
In a letter sent to Mr Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers
, prosecutors said they had uncovered information about the accuser’s history and background that would seriously undermine the credibility of the case. The letter claimed the maid had committed a host of minor frauds in order to gain asylum in the United States, including fabricating stories about suffering persecution and beatings by the dictatorial regime in her native country Guinea, and lying about being the victim of a separate gang rape before entering the US.
The letter also said the maid had admitted her claim that she fled to the hotel’s main hallway after the assault and alerted her supervisor after Strauss-Kahn had left in an elevator was false.
Strauss-Kahn was detained by police on May 14
moments before leaving New York on an Air France flight at JFK airport. Several hours later, detained at Manhattan’s Special Victims Squad, he refused to speak to police, claiming: "My attorney has told me not to talk. I was ready to talk."
After the revelations concerning his accuser’s background, Strauss-Kahn’s bail conditions were relaxed on Friday, reflecting the likelihood that the serious charges against him would not be sustained. He was released from house arrest and given permission to travel anywhere in the US, but not leave the country.
After the announcement lawyers William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman stood outside the courtroom maintaining Strauss-Kahn’s innocence
and stressing the importance of the public reserving their judgement on the case. "We’ve maintained from the beginning that Mr Strauss-Kahn is innocent of these charges," said Taylor.
"It’s so important that people in this country, especially the media, reserve their judgement on the facts of the case until they are all in."
After his release MSK ducked out
to Upper East Side restaurant Scalintella, downing pasta with black truffles, washed down with a fancy wine.
While still facing charges, there is already speculation Strauss Kahn could return to his Socialist Party
to contest the 2012 presidential election in France where he was previously tipped as the man most likely to be the next president. Declarations to lead the party must be made by July 13, but current front-runner François Hollande said he had "no problem" pushing back the declaration date to August to allow Strauss-Kahn to return from New York.
But while facing an uphill challenge, the prosecution still maintains there is evidence to support the notion that Strauss-Kahn forced the hotel maid to perform oral s-x, and legal experts claim
the questionable background of the accuser is a fairly common problem faced by sexual assault prosecutors.