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BY CYNTHIA MAGNUS | Judge Michael Obus formally dismissed the criminal charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday August 23, ending a three-month drama that drew international attention.
The final word came at approximately 1:10 p.m. Tuesday when the Appellate Division denied the request by the accuser’s attorney Kenneth Thompson to overturn Obus’s denial of Thompson’s application to have D.A. Cyrus Vance removed from the case, and a special prosecutor appointed.
Strauss-Kahn, who had been considered a contender in the upcoming run for the French presidency, was accused on May 14 of sexually assaulting Nafissatou Diallo, a housekeeper at a Times Square hotel. The prosecution’s case unraveled shortly after it began when its continued investigation revealed inconsistencies in the woman’s account of the alleged attack — as well as lies she told on her application for U.S. political asylum and other government documents.
Prosecutors submitted a “Recommendation for Dismissal” to the court on Monday afternoon, and notified Diallo and her attorney that they would be dropping the case.
Prosecutors stated in the document, “We simply no longer have confidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty,” and that, “The complainant’s untruthfulness makes it impossible to credit her.” At the time of the accusation Strauss-Kahn had been chief of the International Monetary Fund. He subsequently resigned his post to attend to his legal difficulties. He rented a Tribeca townhouse on Franklin Street, and was ordered under house arrest.
Outside the courthouse on Tuesday, defense attorney Benjamin Brafman thanked the D.A.’s office for taking “the courageous step” of dropping the case.
When asked when Strauss-Kahn would be free to return to France, Brafman said, “He can go now if he wants to, but he’s not.”
How long he will remain in Tribeca, therefore, is unclear.
Thompson told the assembled press, “We are disappointed that D.A. Vance does not believe in equal justice under the law.”
In a statement Strauss-Kahn issued through a spokesperson following the hearing, he said, “We are gratified that the District Attorney agreed with my lawyers that this case had to be dismissed. We appreciate his professionalism and that of the people who were involved in that decision.”