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Strauss-Kahn case ‘to be dropped’ as maid doubts grow

Publication:
The Times

Date:
July 4, 2011

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“Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing”

New York’s district attorney is expected to drop the criminal case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn after the chambermaid who accused him of sexual assault was alleged to be married to a drug dealer who sought to make money from the charges.

The former head of the International Monetary Fund was arrested in New York in May and charged with seven counts of sexual assault, attempted rape and false imprisonment. The Frenchman was put under house arrest after the 32-year-old African maid claimed that he attacked her while she was cleaning his room at the Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan. Mr Strauss-Kahn has denied all charges.

At the end of last week, Cyrus Vance Jr, the district attorney, admitted that the alleged victim had lied about the day of the attack. The prosecution team also said they had uncovered inconsist- encies concerning her immigration documents. Mr Vance Jr is thought unlikely to move to a trial on any charge because of the ease with which the defence would demolish the maid’s credibility.

It has also emerged that last Wednesday Mr Vance Jr received a translation of the transcript of a telephone call which the accuser made to a man in jail awaiting trial on charges of drug dealing. During the conversation, in Fulani, a dialect of the accuser’s native Guinea, she said: “Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing.”

As Mr Vance Jr attempted to salvage his career from what is emerging as a botched prosecution, a poll yesterday for Le Parisien newspaper found that 49 per cent of French people want Mr Strauss-Kahn to “play a role on the political scene in future” but 45 per cent want him never to return. Privately, President Sarkozy’s ministers spoke of Mr Strauss-Kahn as being politically dead.

While still restricted to stay within the US, Mr Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest on Friday. He and his wife, Anne Sinclair, ate a celebratory four-course $600 (£370) supper with another couple. Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, was photographed at Scalinatella Ristorante on East 61st Street where he ordered prosciutto and “orange flesh melon” and a glass of Pinot Grigio before eating pappardelle with truffles ($100) served with an Italian red wine, a Brunello di Montalcino ($116 a bottle). A diner said Mr Strauss-Kahn appeared “in a very good mood”.

On Saturday afternoon, the Strauss- Kahns left their Tribeca townhouse pursued by media crews. They visited the Time-Warner Centre before going to the Museum of Modern Art before returning home at about 5.30pm.

A ferocious character assassination against the Guinean maid dominated the New York tabloids at the weekend. She was accused of demanding money immediately after the sexual encounter with Mr Strauss-Kahn.

Whatever happens, the maid is expected to take him to court with a demand for civil damages, Kenneth Thompson, her laywer, indicated. His client had suffered injuries in the alleged attack, including a torn shoulder ligament, bruises, and abrasions to her vagina, he said. DNA evidence shows that a sexual encounter did take place between the maid and the politician. He admits having sex with her but claims it was consensual. For now, Mr Vance Jr is saying only that prosecutors will keep investigating. “Sometimes the road to get to the truth has twists and turns in it, which are not always apparent at the outset,” he said