Prosecutor to drop Strauss-Kahn case: report

Prosecutors will ask a judge to dismiss all charges in the sexual assault case against former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn at a court hearing on Tuesday, the New York Post reported on Sunday, citing unnamed sources.

The Manhattan district attorney's office will file a motion recommending the case be dropped and laying out the chronology of events that led to that point, according to the Post.

Strauss-Kahn, who has denied the allegations, was once seen as a leading contender to be president of France until a maid, Nafissatou Diallo, accused him of sexual assault on May 14 at New York's Sofitel Hotel. He was arrested and forced to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund a few days later.

The case has teetered since late June when prosecutors disclosed that Diallo, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant, had lied on her U.S. asylum application and about other aspects of her past.

That revelation threatened her credibility as a witness and led prosecutors to agree to release Strauss-Kahn, 62, from house arrest, though he remains barred from leaving the country. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

The Post reported that the prosecutors' motion would detail concerns about Diallo's credibility and make it clear they do not believe they can prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report. Erin Duggan, the spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, declined to comment, as did Chief Assistant District Attorney Daniel Alonso, the office's top deputy.

Douglas Wigdor, one of Diallo's lawyers, said he could not confirm the report.

"If the district attorney drops this important case, it will be a major setback for all women who are victims of sexual crimes and no doubt deter others from coming forward," he said in an email from Paris, where he plans to hold a press conference Tuesday following the court hearing in New York.

Benjamin Brafman, Strauss-Kahn's attorney, declined to comment Sunday on the report.

Speculation that the charges would be dropped intensified on Saturday, when Diallo's lawyers said she had been summoned for a meeting with prosecutors on Monday and suggested that it could be a sign that prosecutors were preparing to dismiss.

Even if the charges are dismissed, Strauss-Kahn faces a civil suit filed by Diallo two weeks ago and a complaint filed in France by journalist and writer Tristane Banon, who has alleged that he tried to rape her in 2002. Authorities in Paris are considering whether to press charges in that case.

[Source: By Joseph Ax, Reuters, New York, 22Aug11]

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