New York prosecutors asked for some or all of the sexual assault charges made by hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo (pictured, left) against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be dropped Monday.
REUTERS - New York prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss sexual assault charges against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Monday, a stunning reversal that could revive the political future of a man many had seen as the next president of France.
FRANCE 24's exclusive interview with Nafissatou Diallo's lawyer
Though he is free to return to French politics, his image was damaged and the Socialist party would have to make an exception to allow him into the presidential race at this late date. A poll released in July showed two-thirds of French people do not want him to be a candidate.
He also still faces a civil lawsuit that Diallo filed against him on Aug. 8 and a complaint from a French writer who said he tried to rape her during a 2003 interview.
After detectives pulled him off the first-class section of a Paris-bound jet on the day of the purported attack on Diallo, his arrest sent shockwaves across the globe.
Charming and multilingual, the silver-haired Strauss-Kahn had gained esteem for reforming the International Monetary Fund as managing director, injecting it with transparency and accountability. Then his stature took a mighty fall.
The accuser, Diallo, painted a vivid picture of what she said happened in Suite 2806 of the Sofitel hotel near Times Square, saying a naked Strauss-Kahn chased her down a hall and into the bedroom and forced her to perform oral sex.
She said she broke free and that he dragged her into a bathroom where he forced himself on her again.
But her credibility was later thrown into question when prosecutors revealed she had told authorities numerous lies, including fabricating a story about being gang-raped in Guinea in order to gain U.S. asylum. She also changed details of her story about what happened following the purported assault.
U.S. media at first kept her identity secret, respecting a practice not to name sexual assault accusers, until she came forward in an interview with Newsweek magazine and ABC News in late July.
Nafissatou Diallo’s interview with ABC
According to her lawyers, prosecutors said they turned up a recorded conversation between Diallo and a man detained in an Arizona jail in which, speaking in the West African dialect Fulani, she said "words to the effect" that "this guy has a lot of money. I know what I am doing."
Such a conversation could provide Strauss-Kahn's defense lawyers with ammunition to attack Diallo's motives, although she denied referring to his wealth and her lawyers said the quote was not on the tape, according to an interpreter hired by prosecutors.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn: portrait of a political heavyweight
The Paris prosecutor has opened a preliminary inquiry into a complaint filed by French journalist Tristane Banon, who says Strauss-Kahn unhooked her bra and tried to open her jeans as she kicked him in what ended up as fight on the floor. Now free of New York charges, he must mount a new defense in France.
Date created : 2011-08-22