Manhattan prosecutors Monday asked a judge to throw out the sexual assault case against French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn, saying the woman who accused him has told too many "falsehoods" to be a credible trial witness.
"If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so," prosecutors said in court papers.
The move by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. was the latest dramatic turn in a case that became an international sensation and forced Strauss-Kahn, 62, to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund.
"Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his family are grateful that the district attorney's office took our concerns seriously and concluded on its own that this case cannot proceed further," defense attorneys Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor said in a statement.
Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus will decide during a hearing Tuesday morning whether to grant the dismissal request. If he does, Strauss-Kahn would likely have his bail conditions lifted and would be free to leave the country for France, more than three months after his arrest.
An attorney for Nafissatou Diallo, 32, the Sofitel hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of forcing her to perform a sex act in his room May 14, ripped Vance's decision and said he would ask the judge to appoint a special prosecutor.
Strauss-Kahn maintained any sex with Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, was consensual.
At the outset of the case, after Strauss-Kahn was pulled off a Paris-bound plane at Kennedy Airport, police and Vance's office said Diallo was a credible accuser. Strauss-Kahn was soon indicted, but doubts about Diallo emerged as the investigation continued. Prosecutors accepted a relaxation of Strauss-Kahn's bail conditions on July 1, but stopped short then of agreeing to drop charges.
Then, Diallo went public to insist she was telling the truth about what happened and on Aug. 8 filed a civil suit against Strauss-Kahn, seeking unspecified damages. His attorneys said money was the motivation for her accusations.
In the 25-page request for dismissal filed late Monday, prosecutors said, "We are confronted with a situation in which it has become increasingly clear that the complainant's credibility cannot withstand the most basic evaluation."
Prosecutors Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and John "Artie" McConnell said Diallo had a history of lying about her past -- including a claim she was raped by soldiers in her native country -- and gave "shifting and inconsistent versions" of events surrounding the alleged assault by Strauss-Kahn, including her actions afterward. They said Diallo also lied in official government filings, such as on income statements to qualify for low-income housing.
"All of these falsehoods would, of course, need to be disclosed to a jury at trial, and their cumulative effect would be devastating," the prosecutors stated.
They said physical and medical evidence "conclusively establishes" there was a sexual encounter between Strauss-Kahn and Diallo, but does not "prove or corroborate" that it "was forcible or non-consensual."
Diallo learned that prosecutors were preparing to ditch the case during a brief meeting Monday at the DA's offices. Afterward, her attorney, Kenneth Thompson, said Vance "has not only turned his back on this innocent victim, but he has also turned his back on the forensic, medical and other evidence in this case." Diallo stood quietly at his side.
Neither took questions from reporters but later, in papers seeking a special prosecutor, Thompson accused Vance of "unfair treatment, bias and prejudice."
Outside the building late Monday, supporters of Diallo, including City Councilwoman Letitia James of Brooklyn and about 20 other women gathered for a rally.
"The handling of this case brings us to the same point: What are we telling victims of sexual assault in our society?," James said.
With Emily Ngo