Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest and left a New York court without bail Friday, after prosecutors raised questions about the credibility of the hotel maid accusing him of sexual assault.
Charges not dropped
Strauss-Kahn smiled as he left the courthouse after the judge agreed to return Strauss-Kahn’s bail and revoke pre-trial restrictions on his movements.
None of the charges against him were dropped, but the development shows prosecutors do not believe the case is as strong as they once did.
The alleged crime
The veteran French politician was arrested in May on charges he attacked a 32-year-old African immigrant who came to clean his suite at a luxury New York City hotel. The arrest prompted his resignation from the IMF.
Strauss-Kahn’s attorney said Friday that the case shows “how easy it is for people to be charged with serious crimes and for there to be a rush to judgment.”
But the accuser’s attorney insisted that her case still stands, saying she has consistently described a “violent sexual assault” that Strauss-Kahn committed against her and has not changed her story about that encounter.
Prosecutors said they will continue investigating. The next court date was set for July 18.
The New York Times reports the accuser, an immigrant from Guinea, has repeatedly lied to prosecutors since making her initial allegations. The newspaper says serious discrepancies have been uncovered about the woman’s background, with issues involving her application for asylum, along with possible links to criminal activities such as drug dealing and money laundering.
Not guilty plea
Strauss-Khan has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In Friday’s hearing, he did not get his passport returned to him, so he will be unable to go back to France.
Before his arrest, he was considered a leading contender to run as the Socialist Party candidate against French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential election.
Former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde was recently chosen to succeed Strauss-Kahn at the IMF.