News / USA

Sexual Assault Charges Against Strauss-Kahn Dropped

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, leaves Manhattan state Supreme court with his wife Anne Sinclair, left, and attorney Benjamin Brafman in New York, August 23, 2011
Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, leaves Manhattan state Supreme court with his wife Anne Sinclair, left, and attorney Benjamin Brafman in New York, August 23, 2011

A New York judge has dismissed sexual assault charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one day after prosecutors moved to have the case dropped.

After the dismissal Tuesday, an appeals court rejected his accuser's request for a special prosecutor to continue the criminal case.  Protesters gathered outside the courthouse Tuesday, criticizing the move to drop the charges.

The 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn later said the past months have been "a nightmare" for him and his family.   In a written statement, he thanked supporters and said he is grateful that the Manhattan district attorney agreed to dismiss the case.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested in May, after a maid alleged he sexually assaulted her when she went to clean his room at a luxury hotel in Manhattan.  Guinean-born Nafissatou Diallo accused the former IMF managing director of attacking her at the hotel on May 14.  Strauss-Kahn's lawyers denied the allegation and suggested that any sexual encounter was consensual.

Prosecutors filed their request to have the case dismissed, saying the evidence did not prove that Strauss-Kahn engaged in a forced sexual encounter.  They expressed concern about the maid's reliability, saying she has not been truthful on "great and small" matters, and that they could not ask a jury to believe her when they no longer believed her themselves.

Diallo's case faltered in late June when prosecutors revealed inconsistencies in her account of what happened.  They also disclosed that she had fabricated a story about being raped in her native Guinea for her U.S. asylum application.

Efforts to clarify what happened between Strauss-Kahn and Diallo will likely continue in civil court, where she has sued him.  He also faces an investigation in France of another attempted rape accusation.

Before the incident, Strauss-Kahn was a leading contender to challenge French President Nicolas Sarkozy in an election next year.  Strauss-Kahn resigned his IMF post after being arrested on the rape allegations, which significantly eroded his support among French voters.

He has been free on bail since a brief period of detention after his arrest.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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