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Strauss-Kahn due in court as case 'nears collapse'

Prosecutors are beginning to have serious doubts about the credibility of the accuser in the sexual assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (pictured). The New York Times is reporting that the case is “near collapse”.


The case against former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on the verge of collapse after prosecutors admitted they had serious doubts about the credibility of his alleged victim, according to a report published on Thursday.

The New York Times reported that prosecutors believe the woman in question, who has not been named, has repeatedly lied to them since she made her initial allegation.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: portrait of a political heavyweight

The newspaper said the New York chambermaid was recorded discussing the potential benefits of pursuing charges with a man currently in jail for possessing 180 kg of cannabis. There were also inconsistencies in what the 32-year-old Guinean woman has said about her asylum application, as well as alleged links to drug smuggling and money laundering.

FRANCE 24’s Nathan King, reporting from New York, said the latest developments were a huge boon for Strauss-Kahn’s defence.

“It’s worth noting that prosecutors found this out about their own client,” he said. “It’s given Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers an open window, and there are rumblings that there are so many holes in this case that they may be able to get a dismissal.”

The New York district attorney’s office has summoned Strauss-Kahn, known as "DSK" in France, to an unscheduled hearing to take place on Friday. The Times speculated that his strict bail conditions could be relaxed and that the felony charges may be dismissed, although the court refused to elaborate on the reasons for the summons.

A DSK ally in France said the hearing could be the beginning of a “legal tsunami.” Socialist Party (PS) lawmaker Julien Dray told FRANCE 24 that the New York Times “is a serious newspaper that doesn’t take things like this lightly”, while reminding that the paper had not been kind to DSK in the wake of his arrest.

A political resurrection?

Even if the case collapses, DSK, has nevertheless suffered a spectacular fall from a position of enormous power and potential.

Strauss-Kahn was head of the IMF at a time of enormous economic turbulence, and as a politician he was also billed as the one man who could lead the PS (Socialist Party) to victory in next year’s presidential election. 

Unsurprisingly, after the New York Times story broke, DSK's socialist allies came out in a chorus of support for the veteran politician, flooding the airwaves with calls for his political rehabilitation, even before a conclusion of the legal process on the other side of the Atlantic.

The lawyers: key players in the DSK case

The deadline for candidates to put themselves forward for the PS primaries (which he was tipped to win by a wide margin) passed at the beginning of this week. Many on the French left are now calling for that process to be put on hold.

Francois Pupponi, deputy mayor of Sarcelles, where DSK was mayor himself, told FRANCE 24: “If the charges are dropped and he is cleared there is no reason why he should not be rehabilitated both at the IMF and in terms of his political career in France.”

Michele Sabban, PS deputy head of the Paris regional council, called for the PS primaries to be delayed while events in New York played out.

“I hope his resurrection will be as significant as was his downfall,” she told i-Télé. “If he is innocent, I would ask those candidates who have already declared their intention to stand in the primaries to suspend the process.

“After the global humiliation that Dominique has suffered, I think that he merits being given the opportunity to say his piece.”

There was some backtracking even among the ruling UMP party, notably from one lawmaker who had jumped at the opportunity to castigate DSK immediately after his arrest.

In May, Bernard Debré, Member of Parliament for Paris, accused DSK of having already engaged in predatory sexual behaviour at the same hotel and labelled him a “sexual delinquent” who had soiled the image of French politicians abroad.

“I reacted a little too quickly,” he told BFM radio on Friday.

Meanwhile, agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire told Europe 1 radio: “We have to wait for US justice to play its course. What this whole story proves is that people are far too quick to react and to speak out.”

He added that following DSK’s arrest, “too many people were too ready to say too much.”

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had the most to gain from DSK’s downfall and now has the most to lose should he be rehabilitated into French politics, has so far remained silent.


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