Thu, Aug 25, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Strauss-Kahn free after courts ends sex case

CIVIL CASE:Lawyers for the woman who accused the former IMF chief of rape only to torpedo the case by lying said they would pursue a lawsuit, but it may take two years


Former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn became a free man when a judge ended the sexual assault case against him at the request of prosecutors, who said the hotel maid who accused him couldn’t be trusted.

Though evidence showed Strauss-Kahn had a sexual encounter with Nafissatou Diallo in his hotel suite more than three months ago, prosecutors said on Tuesday that the accuser was not credible because of lies she has told, including an earlier false rape claim.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said he would dismiss the case, but there was one more legal twist to get through: He first wanted an appeals court to hear a request from Diallo’s attorneys to keep the case alive by appointing a special prosecutor. The criminal case ended about two hours later, when the higher court agreed with Obus that there was no legal basis for removing the district attorney from the case.

The case drew global attention and left both the accuser and the -accused — a one-time potential candidate for the French presidency — with tattered reputations.

Strauss-Kahn arrived at court in a six-car motorcade and was greeted by protesters wielding signs carrying such messages as “DSK treats women like property” and “Put the rapist on trial — not the victim.” The shouting could be heard inside the courtroom.

He appeared resolute inside. He smiled and shook hands with his biographer as his wife, journalist Anne Sinclair, sat nearby.

The couple left court without speaking to reporters, but Strauss-Kahn later issued a statement describing the case as “a nightmare for me and my family.”

“I want to thank all the friends in France and in the United States who have believed in my innocence, and to the thousands of people who sent us their support personally and in writing. I am most deeply grateful to my wife and family who have gone through this ordeal with me,” he said. “We will have nothing further to say about this matter and we look forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life.”

Diallo’s attorneys said they would aggressively litigate their civil case against Strauss-Kahn — though they expect it would take two years to go to court.

Strauss-Kahn lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in an interview on Tuesday that Strauss-Kahn could file his own counter-lawsuit. Brafman said “that’s certainly a consideration” because he has “suffered enormous damages” from allegations prosecutors say were made by a woman with a history of lying.

Brafman said the encounter was consensual, but Strauss-Kahn doesn’t want to detail his version of what happened.

Brafman said because it’s not a criminal matter it’s “not something that needs to be discussed publicly.”

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