Strauss-Kahn lawyers say sex charges to be dropped
Prosecutors have agreed to drop the sexual assault charges against former IMF chief and one-time French presidential favorite Dominique Strauss-Kahn, his lawyers said Monday.
Their statement came after informed sources told AFP that prosecutors had filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the charges made by a hotel maid, 32-year-old African immigrant Nafissatou Diallo.
Strauss-Kahn's legal team said the former French politician was "grateful" the New York prosecution team had concluded "that this case cannot proceed further."
"We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent, said lawyers William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman.
The announcement came after the now-famous New York housekeeper and her legal team met with prosecutor Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance amid a media frenzy here, with them arriving at court before hundreds of journalists and onlookers.
Diallo's lawyer Kenneth Thompson said after the meeting a dismissal meant Vance had "denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case."
Vance, he said, has "turned his back" on forensic, medical and other physical evidence in the case against Strauss-Kahn.
"If the Manhattan District Attorney, who is elected to protect our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our wives and our loved ones, is not going to stand up for them when they're raped or sexually assaulted, then who will?" Thompson asked.
Wearing black trousers and a beige jacket, Diallo, who says Strauss-Kahn forced her into oral sex and tried to rape her, had arrived for the meeting protected by several bodyguards in front of hundreds of journalists and onlookers.
The now-famous chamber maid, accompanied by Thompson, arrived at the courthouse after being summoned to a meeting with Vance's team, who already have made clear that they have grave concerns about her veracity and her reliability as a witness.
Thompson told AFP earlier he still hoped "the DA will stand by Diallo," but it had appeared increasingly likely that prosecutors will use a court hearing on Tuesday to ask that the judge formally dismiss charges.
If that happens, Strauss-Kahn will be free to return to France, where his May 14 arrest in New York and brief imprisonment before being freed on bail, caused a political uproar.
The case has captivated international attention after Diallo accused the IMF chief of forcing her into oral sex when she went to clean his luxury hotel room three months ago.
Not only did Strauss-Kahn have to resign as head of the IMF after his arrest, but he had to abandon what was widely expected to be a successful challenge against President Nicolas Sarkozy in upcoming elections.
© 2011 AFP