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June 30, 2011

Ex-IMF Chief Released on Own Recognizance

by Peter Fedynsky

Former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss Kahn has been released on his own recognizance as New York state prosecutors reveal doubts about the credibility of his accuser.

Strauss-Kahn walked out of the courthouse free to travel anywhere in the United States. Minutes before, Judge Michael Obus vacated a $6-million bail order against the defendant. However, Strauss-Kahn’s passport was not returned, preventing him from leaving the United States.

The decision came after prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon revealed questions about the credibility of Strauss-Kahn’s accuser.

“We have been conducting a comprehensive and thorough investigation of all aspects of this case, including the background of the complainant and her various statements about the incident and her past activities,” said Illuzzi-Orbon.

However, Illuzzi-Orbon said the prosecution is not moving to dismiss charges against Strauss-Kahn at this time. They include sexual assault and attempted rape.

The New York Times quotes unnamed law enforcement officials as saying the victim had a telephone conversation with an incarcerated man in which she discussed possible benefits of pressing the case against Strauss-Kahn.  

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman praised Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for quickly releasing exculpatory evidence.

“I commend Cy Vance for doing what is appropriate, but doing what I think took some great courage and personal integrity to stand up and say this case is not what we thought it was,” he said.

The accuser’s attorney, Ken Thompson, said the report of his client’s involvement with a drug dealer was a lie. He insisted Cy Vance knows that medical and forensic evidence supports the accuser, but is nonetheless laying the foundation to dismiss the case out of fear he could lose it.

“… knowing very well to this very day that they have a picture of her bruised vagina; knowing very well to this very day that she suffered a tear to her ligament when he threw her down to the ground, and knowing very well to this day that they have a pair of stockings that were ripped by Dominique Strauss-Kahn.”

Vance read a brief statement to reporters that his office has an obligation to victims and defendants alike.

“The vindication of sex crime victims is among the highest priorities of this office," he said. "And with regard to the treatment of this victim, we believe we have done nothing but to support her and everything in our power to maintain her privacy and to keep her safe.”

Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Under the bail order, he had been confined to a New York apartment. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 18.