FORMER IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn is almost certain to walk free today after New York prosecutors lost faith in the sex charges against him and recommended the case be dismissed.
The one-time favourite to beat Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s French presidential election could fly home as soon as this evening, barring a dramatic eleventh-hour twist.
He was accused of attempting to rape hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo and forcing her to perform a sex act.
However, prosecutors decided they had little chance of securing a conviction in a case that has been fraught with difficulties.
Strauss-Kahn’s legal team, led by Benjamin Brafman, had pounced on apparent inconsistencies in Diallo’s testimony, as well as a taped conversation with her incarcerated drug-dealer boyfriend in which she is understood to have discussed how she could profit from the case.
Strauss-Kahn spent a week in the notorious Rikers Island prison and more than four months under house arrest in the US after the accusations were made in May.
Lawyers for Diallo reacted furiously, demanding that district attorney Cyrus Vance steps down, saying he has “bungled” the case and denied their client a fair trial.
Kenneth Thompson said: “Vance has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case. He has not only turned his back on this innocent victim but all of the forensic, medical and other physical evidence in this case.”
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers welcomed the decision. Brafman, who has also represented rapper Jay-Z, said: “We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent. We also maintained that there were many reasons to believe that Strauss-Kahn’s accuser was not credible.”
He still faces a civil lawsuit filed by Diallo and a complaint from French writer Tristane Banon, who said he tried to rape her during an interview in 2003..
However, a judicial source said the French complaint was likely to be shelved as prosecutors were struggling to find evidence to support a charge of attempted rape. A statute of limitations on a lesser crime of sexual aggression has already expired.
Meanwhile, Francois Hollande, who took over Strauss-Kahn’s mantle as the leading Socialist candidate for the French elections, appeared to hint that the former French finance minister might once again play a role in government should the socialists beat Sarkozy in April.