Strauss-Kahn court date postponed to August 1

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The next court hearing for former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been delayed until August 1 to allow both sides to continue their investigations, documents showed Monday.

"The people and the defense on the above matter jointly request an administrative adjournment on consent of both parties in lieu of a court appearance on July 18, 2011," they said in a joint letter to the judge.

"Both parties request that the case be adjourned to August 1, 2011. The purpose of this adjournment is to facilitate both parties' continued investigation in this matter."

Strauss-Kahn, 62, had been due to appear before judge Michael Obus on July 18 on seven charges of trying to rape a hotel maid in May, but the case suffered a major setback when prosecutors said the woman had lied in sworn testimony.

Prosecutors also said the Guinean-born woman had given false information on tax and asylum application forms, including about an alleged gang rape in Guinea, which also questioned her credibility.

The former IMF chief, who resigned his post with the International Monetary Fund in order to fight the charges against him, has denied sexual assault and attempted rape of the 32-year-old maid in his luxury Manhattan hotel suite.

He was released under oath in a surprise move over a week ago after spending several days in jail and then weeks under house arrest, as the prosecution case appeared to unravel.

His defense team Monday renewed a call for the charges to be dismissed against the veteran French politician, once seen as a contender to be the next president of France.

"We hope that during this time the district attorney will make the necessary decision to dismiss the case against Mr. Strauss-Kahn," lawyers William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman said in a statement.

The prosecution declined to speculate on the next steps in the case.

"The investigation into this case is continuing. No decisions have been made," a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.

Prosecutors are also under pressure from a coalition of women's rights groups and community leaders to continue the case against Strauss-Kahn which arises out of the allegations by the woman of Guinean origin.

"We ask Vance to let the victim have her day in court," New York Democratic Senator Bill Perkins at a news conference in Harlem on Sunday.

And the woman's lawyer Kenneth Thompson has unleashed a furious assault against the prosecutors, saying he believed the district attorney's office was "laying the foundation to dismiss this case."

"Our concern is that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is too afraid to try this case. We believe that he's afraid that he's going to lose this high-profile case," Thompson said earlier this month.

Thompson has written to Vance asking that his office appoint a special prosecutor, citing both a "potential conflict of interest" and the fact that one prosecutor had "screamed at and disrespected the victim."

Earlier Monday French police questioned a French writer over her claim that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003, in a case that could wreck his hopes of a political return.

Judicial officials said detectives from the Paris violent crimes squad interviewed Tristane Banon, 32, who in 2007 publicly accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to force himself on her "like a rutting chimpanzee".

Paris police have been asked by investigating magistrates to look into her formal complaint lodged last week against the ex-head of the International Monetary Fund.

French prosecutors will then decide whether or not to charge him.

© 2011 AFP

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