A pair of judges put an end Tuesday to the sensational sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, setting him free after prosecutors argued the hotel housekeeper accusing the French diplomat of sexual assault couldn't be trusted.
The decision to drop the charges in a case that has attracted global attention as a cauldron of sex, violence, power and politics had been widely expected. Prosecutors filed court papers Monday saying that they could not trust the word of the hotel housekeeper accusing the French diplomat of attempted rape.
A news conference with the district attorney was postponed after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt in New York City.
The maid from the West African nation of Guinea claimed that the one-time French presidential contender attacked her and sexually assaulted her when she arrived to clean his luxury suite May 14. When prosecutors brought charges, they touted their evidence as strong but later noted that DNA evidence didn't prove a forced
Thompson's partner addressed members of the French media in Paris, expressing similar concern and frustration. Diallo's lawyers had no other plans to appeal.
Illuzzi-Orbon said prosecutors' decision to drop the case "does not mean that we, in any way, condone the defendant's behavior."
There is no dispute that something happened in the room; DNA evidence showed his semen on her work clothes and prosecutors on Monday revealed additional details that led them to believe a sexual encounter occurred. Strauss-Kahn's attorneys argued it wasn't forced.
Like many sexual assault cases, in which the accused and the accuser are often the only eyewitnesses, the Strauss-Kahn case hinged heavily on the maid's believability.
Early on, prosecutors stressed that Diallo had provided "a compelling and unwavering story" replete with "very powerful details" and buttressed by forensic evidence. The police commissioner said seasoned detectives had found her credible.
But then prosecutors said July 1 they'd found the maid had told them a series of troubling falsehoods, including a persuasive but phony account of having been gang-raped in her native Guinea. She said she was echoing a story she'd told to enhance her 2003 bid for political asylum, but there's no mention of it on her written application, prosecutors said in Monday's filing. She told interviewers she was raped in her homeland under other circumstances.
Prosecutors continued investigating and said Monday they uncovered further damning information that lead them to believe they couldn't ask a jury to believe her story.
Diallo has maintained that she feared what would happen if she told them the truth about her asylum application, and that the events have been taken out of context, and do not change the fact that she was wrongly attacked by Strauss-Kahn.
Her attorneys said they would aggressively litigate the civil case - though they expect it would take two years to go to court.
Meanwhile, another sex assault case in France against Strauss-Kahn continues. Novelist Tristane Banon says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2002 and has filed a new criminal complaint in France. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have called her account "imaginary."