Business, Economics and Jobs

Strauss-Kahn sexual-assault case near collapse as serious questions about accuser surface

The sexual-assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was breaking down Thursday night, as serious questions came to light about the credibility of the hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexually assaulting her in his New York City Sofitel hotel suite in May, the New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials.

Attorneys for Strauss-Kahn will ask the State Supreme Court to reduce the conditions of his bail after the prosecutors raised their concerns about the accuser, according to the Washington Post, which cited an unidentified person familiar with the case. Attorneys for both sides requested an unscheduled hearing in the court on Friday morning, and Strauss-Kahn may be freed on Friday.

Prosecutors met with Strauss-Kahn's lawyers on Thursday and outlined their findings. While there is indisputable forensic evidence of sexual contact between Strauss-Kahn, 62, and his accuser, one of the unidentified law enforcement officials said that the accuser has repeatedly lied since her initial allegation on May 14, the New York Times said.

Strauss-Kahn, considered a strong contender for the French presidency before the accusation, has always maintained his innocence.

Though Strauss-Kahn's lawyers had said they would be making the accuser's credibility a focus of their case, it was the prosecutor's investigators that unearthed the inconsistencies.

Some of the questions about the 32-year-old Guinean woman's credibility have to do with her asylum application, and possible connections to criminal activities, among them drug dealing and money laundering, according to the New York Times, which cited one of the law enforcement officials.

The New York Times reported:

According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

In a stunning reversal of fortune, Strauss-Kahn might be released on his own recognizance and freed from house arrest, and it is unlikely that the most-serious charges against him will stand. The district attorney’s office may try to get Strauss-Kahn to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, but his lawyers would probably oppose that move.

Under the relaxed conditions of bail to be requested on Friday, the district attorney’s office would keep Strauss-Kahn’s passport but he would be permitted to travel within the U.S., the New York Times said.