All charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn dismissed
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A judge Tuesday dismissed all charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a day after prosecutors said the hotel maid who had accused him of trying to rape her could not be trusted.
A total of seven charges -- four felonies and three misdemeanors -- were dropped and Strauss-Kahn was a free man for the first time since May 14, when he was taken off of a jet about to leave New York for Paris and put in jail. He left the courtroom smiling after Tuesday’s hearing, which lasted about 13 minutes.
‘I am satisfied the people’s application was made in good faith .... I see no basis to deny the people’s application,’ Judge Michael Obus said in upholding the prosecution’s request to drop the case.
Obus also said his decision was contingent upon an appellate court upholding his decision handed down earlier Tuesday to reject demands that a special prosecutor be assigned to the case. The attorney for the alleged assault victim filed a motion Monday accusing the district attorney of being biased against his client. Obus turned down the motion; a request for it to be reviewed by an appellate court was considered a formality and was not expected to affect the eventual outcome of the case.
Strauss-Kahn was indicted by a grand jury May 18 and released on bail. But his bail was lifted in July and the case began unraveling after prosecutors admitted that his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, had lied to investigators about several things.
Strauss-Kahn arrived at the courthouse Tuesday about 30 minutes before the hearing with his wife, Anne Sinclair. Neither spoke to reporters. As the hearing got underway on the 13th floor of the courthouse in lower Manhattan, chants from activists demanding that the charges not be dropped could be heard from the hallway outside.
Strauss-Kahn always denied guilt and said the brief sexual encounter between him and the maid in his Sofitel hotel suit, was consensual. While prosecutors acknowledged that they had no way of knowing whether his account was true, they said Diallo’s ‘pattern’ of lies -- including one in which she claimed to have been gang-raped in her native Guinea but then recanted it -- made it impossible to trust her.
‘If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so,’ they said in the motion for dismissal filed Monday.
-- Geraldine Baum and Tina Susman in New York