Prosecutors are expected this week to drop the sexual assault charges against former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn and plan to inform his accuser of that on Monday, sources familiar with the case said in reports.
Sources briefed on the deliberations of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. say that he will ask a judge to dismiss the case amid doubts about the credibility of Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, a 33-year-old hotel maid from Guinea, several sources including The New York Times and The Associated Press reported.
Vance’s office has prepared a dismissal on recommendation, a motion that one source told the Times would make clear the reasons why prosecutors believe that the case cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The document could be filed as early as Monday, The New York Post reported, citing a source who said it includes new “bombshells” about Diallo’s credibility.
The dismissal on recommendation will include new allegations that Diallo repeatedly deceived prosecutors about cash deposits into her bank account, her questionable relationships and whether she had discussed trying to make money off her accusations against the wealthy Strauss-Kahn, the Post said.
Prosecutors are set to meet with Diallo on Monday, likely to tell her that they continue to pursue the case. The request would likely be finalized Tuesday before the judge in the case at an already scheduled court date.
After being arrested in May aboard an airplane leaving New York for France, Strauss-Kahn was charged with seven criminal counts that forced him to give up his job leading the IMF and his ambitions to run in the upcoming French presidential election.
If the charges against him are dropped, Strauss-Kahn could return to public life and hold office, the Socialist frontrunner for the French presidency, Francois Hollande, said Monday, Reuters reported. “Whatever has been said, a man with the abilities of Dominique Strauss-Kahn can be useful to his country in the months and years to come,” he said.
Asked whether Strauss-Kahn could be a contender in the April election, Hollande said: “That depends on him.” Six members of the Socialist party — of which Strauss-Kahn is a member — have been selected to compete in the party’s primary in October.
Prosecutors were initially confident in their case against Strauss-Kahn, but as time went on their doubts about Diallo’s claims — in what was already a he said-she said case – grew. In early July prosecutors announced that they questioned her credibility, detailing lies she’d made to investigators and broader questions about her character.
Since those doubts became public, it’s been widely expected that Vance, a year into a job that his predecessor Robert Morgenthau held for more than three decades, would drop the charges against Strauss-Kahn. Diallo, who came out of anonymity last month with TV and print interviews, was the only source who testified to the central allegation in the case, that Strauss-Kahn had forced her to perform oral sex on him.
Diallo’s attorney, Kenneth Thompson, said that while his client may have credibility issues, there is clear evidence that she was attacked, including the observations of several hotel workers who saw her clearly shaken after the alleged incident.
“You must also consider the overwhelming physical evidence that Mr. Vance and his prosecutors pointed to just weeks ago,” Thompson told the Times. “Forensic evidence does not lie,” he said, referring to DNA evidence from the alleged crime scene, Strauss-Kahn’s hotel room.
In an interview with a French radio station on Sunday, Thompson said that Diallo feels “abandoned” by Vance’s office and is “hurt” and “depressed” as she feels “that she’s being investigated more than Strauss-Kahn.”
With the criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn likely on the verge of being dropped, Thompson is expected to ask Monday for Vance’s team to be replaced by a special prosecutor, The Daily Beast reported Sunday. It’s expected to be a long-shot request.
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