Strauss-Kahn court hearing postponed again
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Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s court date was delayed for the second time, after his lawyers agreed Tuesday to postpone it to August 23 in the hope that prosecutors decide to drop the case before the hearing.
AP - The court date that could determine the fate of the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn was postponed Tuesday for more than three weeks as prosecutors kept evaluating a case rocked by their doubts about his accuser’s credibility, and then roiled by her public pressure on them to keep pursuing it.
Lawyers for the former International Monetary Fund leader said Tuesday they’d agreed to put off the Aug. 1 date to Aug. 23 to give Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. more time to investigate, as they did weeks ago in agreeing to postpone a date once set for July 18.
But they underscored Tuesday that they were looking forward to an answer soon on what prosecutors plan to do.
“We hope that by August 23 he will have reached the decision to dismiss” the case, said the attorneys, Benjamin Brafman and William W. Taylor.
The DA’s office declined to comment on the investigation. Prosecutors have shown signs that they are conducting an extensive probe that could take some time.
The date change comes in a tumultuous week for the already dramatic case:
Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, broke her silence in recent days with interviews in Newsweek and on a series of ABC News programs. Her lawyer, Kenneth P. Thompson, didn’t immediately respond to messages Tuesday.
Prosecutors told a judge July 1 that they were re-evaluating the case because her lies and inconsistencies had weakened it. In response, Diallo’s lawyer accused the DA’s office of turning its back on her and called for a special prosecutor.
While Diallo used her media platform to press for prosecutors to keep going with the case - “I want him to go to jail,” she told the interviewers - her decision to go public may make it harder for them to do so, legal experts say. As the key witness in a prospective trial, she has now made public statements that defense lawyers could scour for any discrepancies with her grand jury testimony or other records. They already have used the interviews to suggest that she is fanning the flames of public attention to try to cash in with a civil suit; her lawyer told ABC News she plans to file one.
In the interviews, Diallo gave a detailed account of her version of the May 14 encounter, saying the former IMF leader grabbed her, ignored her pleas to stop, pulled her dress up and her pantyhose down, grabbed her crotch and forced her to perform oral sex.
She also addressed some of the untruths prosecutors have said she told. What they say are conflicting versions of her movements right after leaving Strauss-Kahn’s room are the result of a “misunderstanding,” she said in a segment broadcast Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”
Prosecutors also have said the 32-year-old fabricated aspects of her life story, including a story of having been gang-raped in her native Guinea that she told as part of her application for asylum in the U.S. and repeated to them. She told interviewers she had been raped under other circumstances and in general had made “mistakes,” but they shouldn’t keep prosecutors from pressing ahead with the case.
For now, prosecutors’ investigation seems to be becoming, if anything, more complex. After meeting last week with a lawyer for a French writer who has accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in 2003, Manhattan prosecutors are now seeking to speak to the writer herself. Strauss-Kahn denies that allegation.
Prosecutors also are likely to try to reinterview Diallo, who last spoke to them in late June.
The Associated Press does not generally name accusers in sexual assault cases unless they agree to be named or identify themselves publicly, as Diallo has done.