A New York court has released Dominique Strauss-Kahn from house arrest and had his bail dropped. Strauss-Kahn former head of the International Monetary Fund was accused of attempting to rape a 32-year-old hotel housekeeper in May of this year.
The Manhattan judge’s decision to end the 62-year-old French politician’s house arrest and ease his strict bail conditions was a “stunning reversal in a case that reshaped the French political landscape and sparked debate about morals, the treatment of women and the American justice system,” New York Times reporters wrote.
The New York Times has also reported that police have tape recorded a telephone conversation between the woman and a man in prison on the day of the alleged rape in which she talked about the possible financial benefits that could come to her as a result of pursuing charges. The investigation also found deposits made into her bank account totalling $100,000 over the last two years, some of which came from the man, a convicted drug dealer.
Prosecutors said they still believe that a non-consensual act had occurred in the hotel, the Sofitel New York, but they acknowledged publicly for the first time that the case was not as strong as initially suggested, after concluding that the housekeeper has lied repeatedly in their dealings with her.
James Cox, law professor at Duke University, said: “This has to be the prosecution’s worse nightmare. You do what you think is right and then your witness goes south on you.” He said the prosecution was right to act decisively and quickly on the case when the charges were brought and could not be blamed for the media furore that followed. Others said the developments did not mean Strauss-Kahn would avoid all charges. Professor John Coffee of Columbia Law School said: “This does not exonerate him.
“Legal experts believe the developments will now see the charges reduced down to a misdemeanour, while the defence team push for them to be dropped altogether. “The next step will be a complete dismissal,” said Benjamin Brafman, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer.
Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest for sexual assault led to him losing his job at the IMF and his position as a leading possible presidential contender for the Socialist party in France.