Strauss-Kahn lawyers clash on medical evidence

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Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the maid who accuses the French politician of a brutal sex assault clashed Tuesday over whether medical reports bolster her allegations.

The exchange was the latest skirmish ahead of what could be a crucial court hearing next Tuesday for Strauss-Kahn, who is free on bail.

Attorneys for the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, told French newspaper L'Express that the medical report by doctors who examined her after the alleged incident found injuries consistent with assault and rape.

But William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, the lawyers for Strauss-Kahn, attacked those assertions, saying the physical condition of Diallo could easily have shown she had recently engaged in consensual sex, even before the alleged attack.

The "use of the medical reports to confirm or bolster the charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn is misleading and deceitful," they said in a statement.

"The medical reports confirm that the complainant did not have any injury caused by a forcible encounter. The physical descriptions of the complainant in the medical reports are not injuries at all, and are a common condition consistent with many possible causes other than a sexual assault, including consensual sexual activity days before the incident."

At next week's hearing, prosecutors are expected to reveal whether they will drop charges or press their case against the former head of the International Monetary Fund and highly touted potential candidate for the French presidency.

The prosecution case has unraveled in recent weeks after the District Attorney's office said there were problems with Diallo's credibility, a key factor in a trial where she would be the main prosecution witness.

"There is certainly a chance that prosecutors will drop the criminal charges against DSK because Diallo has considerable credibility baggage," said attorney and former federal prosecutor Marcellus McRae.

"However, given the enormous resources devoted to this case, the widespread media attention, and the need to preserve the publics perception of the DAs office as a diligent and trusted actor, it would also not be surprising to see the prosecutors seek additional time to investigate the matter before making any final decisions," he said.

While doubt wavers over the criminal prosecution, Diallo's lawyers have filed a civil lawsuit against Strauss-Kahn and are seeking unspecified damages.

© 2011 AFP

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