Dominique Strauss-Kahn Released from House Arrest as New Questions Arise Over Maid's Credibility

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest on his own recognizance Friday after investigators said they have discovered significant problems with the credibility of the hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault in May.

The development Friday means Strauss-Kahn is free to move about town until his next court appearance July 18.  Around 7 p.m. Friday, a smiling Strauss-Kahn left the house where he had been staying with his wife to dine at Scalinatella.

The prosecution said it is not moving to dismiss charges "at this time," but acknowledged the case has now been thrown into turmoil after the latest revelations about the maid.

The credibility issues have "caused us to reassess the position... about the strength of the case," Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said in court.

The accusations against Strauss-Kahn have reverberated internationally since the alleged incident; he was once a likely top French presidential contender, and has since resigned his post as head of the International Monetary Fund.

In a letter prosecutors filed with the court Friday, they detailed some of the credibility issues with the Sofitel Hotel maid, including that she changed her story about what she did right after the alleged assault on May 14.

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 said in the letter Friday that she "has since admitted that this account was false."

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

The letter also discusses 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, the letter said.

The letter also suggests that she falsely claimed to have been gang raped in Guinea.

While recounting that previous rape story to prosecutors, the maid cried and "appeared to be markedly distraught when recounting the incident."

But in subsequent interviews, "she admitted that the gang rape had never occurred," the letter said.

Read the full letter here.

The maid's attorney, Ken Thompson, said outside court that evidence still shows the woman was attacked in the Strauss-Kahn case, including her ripped stockings and DNA evidence on her clothing that matched a sample from him.

Defense lawyers have argued there was no "forcible" encounter. Strauss-Kahn denies that he attempted to rape the maid.

Questions are also being raised about whether the woman had been truthful about her background with law enforcement authorities, the source said. Another source says she may have links to possible criminal suspects.

Strauss-Kahn has been on home confinement in a $50,000-a-month Tribeca townhouse since May 20.

Read a timeline of the case here.

The terms of his house arrest, since his release from Rikers Island, allowed him to leave the residence for one weekly religious observance, medical appointments, meetings with lawyers and court appearances.

Prosecutors had to be notified at least six hours before he goes anywhere. He also had to wear an electronic monitoring device and live under video surveillance.

He still does not have his passport, but is otherwise free to move about as he pleases.

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