Judge Dismisses DSK Charges, Appellate Court Denies Special Prosecutor Request

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011  |  Updated 6:32 AM EDT
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Jonathan Dienst reports.

Jonathan Dienst reports.

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RAW VIDEO: DSK Arrives at Court as Case Dismissal Looms

Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrives at court on the day all charges against him are expected to be dropped. Watch the raw video of his arrival.
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A judge tossed out the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday, allowing the former International Monetary Fund chief to leave the country more than three months after he was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid.

Strauss-Kahn released a statement after the court appearance, saying the time since his arrest has been "a nightmare" for him and his family.

"We look forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life," he said.

His biographer said outside court that Strauss-Kahn plans to head to Washington, D.C., for a few days and then back to France. 

Strauss-Kahn, believed to be a top French presidential contender until the incident, never denied a sexual encounter took place when the maid entered his room on May 14 to clean it, but had always claimed it was consensual.

He had been charged with attempted rape, sex abuse and a criminal sex act, among other counts, with the most serious charge carrying up to 25 years in prison. Protesters gathered outside the courthouse Tuesday in opposition to the case being thrown out.

The dismissal comes more than seven weeks after a judge released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest as investigators admitted they had discovered significant problems with the maid's credibility.

"The physical, scientific and other evidence establishes that the defendant engaged in a hurried sexual encounter with the complainant, but it does not independently establish her claim of a forcible, nonconsensual encounter," prosecutors said in a motion filed Monday to dismiss charges.

The motion describes her statements about the day as "shifting and inconsistent," and that prosecutors could therefore not be certain about what took place in the Sofitel room that day.

The accuser, who came forward late last month and identified herself as Nafissatou Diallo, met with prosecutors briefly Monday as the motion was filed. Her attorney said she was not treated fairly and that the DA bungled the case.

Attorney Ken Thompson said after the prosecution's motion was filed Monday that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has "turned his back" on the accuser and the evidence.

"Just a few weeks ago, District Attorney Vance and his prosecutors were arguing in open court about how strong the evidence was ... now, today they seek to run away from that very same evidence," Thompson said.

Diallo said at a recent rally that she has cried every day since her encounter with Strauss-Kahn.

"What happened to me, I don't want that to happen to any other woman," she said.

Read a timeline of the case here.

The case against the French diplomat upended politics in his home country, where he was a likely Socialist candidate for president next year. When he was first arrested, it was widely believed that his political career was over. Days after he was arraigned, he also resigned as head of the IMF.

Prosecutors said in their motion Monday that they believed the maid was reliable when Strauss-Kahn was first indicted.

But after the investigation then turned up inconsistencies with her statements, the motion said, "the nature and number of the complainant's falsehoods" made it impossible to stand by her version of events beyond a reasonable doubt.

"She has not been truthful, on matters great and small, many pertaining to her background and some relating to the circumstances of the incident itself," the motion said.

The woman first claimed, and testified to a grand jury, to have gone down the hallway and waited until Strauss-Kahn left the room, before immediately reporting the incident to her supervisor. Prosecutors now say that was not true.

After the incident, she proceeded to clean another room and then returned to Strauss-Kahn's room to clean it before then going to report the incident.

There were also inconsistencies on the maid's application for asylum from Guinea, where she is from. The lies, which were made under penalty of perjury, could expose her to federal charges.

In the asylum application, and to prosecutors, the maid claimed her family was persecuted and harassed by Guinea's dictatorial regime, and that police and government soldiers had destroyed her home and beaten her and her husband.

She later admitted to prosecutors that the information was a lie. Prosecutors also said she falsely claimed to have been gang raped in Guinea, and had lied about her finances to get low-income housing in New York.

"All of these falsehoods would, of course, need to be disclosed to a jury at trial, and their cumulative effect would be devastating," prosecutors said in the motion.

The maid's attorney insisted that evidence still shows the woman was attacked by Strauss-Kahn, including ripped stockings and DNA evidence on her clothing that matched a sample from him.

The prosecution's motion made reference to both pieces of evidence. In the case of the DNA, prosecutors said it proved they had an encounter, but not a forced one.

In addition to semen on her dress, there was also his DNA -- in the form of skin cells -- on the waistband of her stockings and underwear, and on the crotch of her stockings. This, the motion says, proves he touched her, but does not prove that he forcibly groped her.

And prosecutors said the stockings did have "defects" on them, but said the maid had told them she did not know if they were related to the encounter.

"For these reasons, we would be unable to argue to a jury that the defects observed in the complainant's panty hose corroborate the claim of a forced encounter," the motion says.

Read the prosecution's motion in full here.

Thompson on Monday had filed a separate motion to disqualify the Manhattan DA's office from handling the case, asking that a special prosecutor be appointed. He argued that the DA has "sabotaged" the prosecution, leaked false statements about the maid to the press and subjected her "to verbal abuse and outright disrespect."

The judge denied that request Tuesday, and an appellate judge agreed. It was the final action in the case.

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