Prosecutors yesterday requested that all charges be dropped in the sex assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and the judge is widely expected to do so this morning.
Strauss-Kahn, 64, was seen as the frontrunner in France’s presidential election until hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, 32, accused him of attempted rape and forcing her to perform oral sex in his suite at midtown’s Sofitel hotel on May 14.
The accusations in the case — which made headlines worldwide — all but destroyed Strauss-Kahn’s political career.
Though investigators were first confident in Diallo’s testimony, the more they grilled her, the more her claims unraveled, the Manhattan district attorney’s office wrote
in its dismissal recommendation.
“Evidence gathered in our post-indictment investigation severely undermined her reliability as a witness,” prosecutors wrote. “If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so.” They added that while there’s little doubt there was sexual contact, they can’t prove it was forced.
The motion came as Diallo’s attorney, Kenneth Thompson, requested that the case be removed from Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and have transferred to a special prosecutor, though the request is likely to be rejected.
Outside the courthouse, Thompson said Vance had “denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case.”
Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys, William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, said their client had been vindicated.
“We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent,” they said in a statement.
Though the ex-IMF chief still faces a civil suit by Diallo reportedly seeking millions, his political career is likely to be revived. It’s too late for him to run in the 2012 presidential election, but he could land a gig in French government and seek the presidency in 2017, said James Sperling, political science professor at the University of Akron and expert on world politics.
“Strauss-Kahn still is going to have a political career — that’s the bottom line. Whether he’ll be president or not, that’s another matter, but he’ll certainly end up in a cabinet or some sort of senior position if the Socialists win the election,” he said.
“Assuming he goes back to France and is able to reclaim some major role, he’ll probably end up running in five years’ time.”