The decision ended a case that brought three months of sordid headlines on both sides of the Atlantic about a hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo who accused Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her in his luxury Manhattan hotel suite and forced her to perform oral sex.
Diallo told police that Strauss-Kahn attacked her when she went to clean his suite at the Sofitel. During the investigation, Diallo, 33, admitted to lying about the circumstances of the incident and other matters. Prosecutors said those lies made it impossible to pursue the case.
Prosecutors said Diallo gave three different accounts of what happened immediately after the encounter at the Sofitel, and admitted to lying to the grand jury, something defense lawyers could have used against her at a criminal trial. Prosecutors said she told investigators a fictitious tale, “with great emotion and conviction,” about how she was gang- raped by soldiers in Guinea.
Strauss-Kahn left court smiling with his wife Anne Sinclair, saying in a statement that his life had been a “nightmare” and would have nothing more to say about the case.
“This is the end of a terrible and unjust ordeal,” he said, surrounded by bodyguards, adding: “I’m eager to return to my country.”
“I look forward to returning to my country but I have a few small matters to take care of first. I will discuss this at greater length (later),” he told reporters later.
“I want to thank my family and supporters who stood by me during this ordeal. I look forward to returning to my country but I have a few small matters to take care of first. I will discuss this at greater length (later),” Strauss-Kahn said.
Strauss-Kahn had been a favorite to run as the next president of France before he was hauled from a first-class seat on a flight from New York to Paris and arrested on May 14. The accusations of the hotel maid seem to end his career, as he had to resign from his post as the International Monetary Fund chief.
Miss Diallo’s lawyers will now press on with a civil lawsuit through which they hope to secure financial damages for the alleged “violent, sadistic attack”. Douglas Wigdor, her second attorney, conceded it was unlikely Mr Strauss-Kahn would be dragged back for a trial.
“Unless you have been falsely accused of a very serious crime that you did not commit, it is impossible for you to understand or grasp the full measure of relief that Dominique Strauss-Kahn feels,” Benjamin Brafman, one of his lawyers, told reporters.
“This was not a forcible encounter. You can engage in inappropriate behavior perhaps, but that is much different than a crime and this case was treated as a crime when it was not,” he added.
Brafman said in an e-mail that Strauss-Kahn may take legal action against Diallo. “We will consider whether to file appropriate counter- claims if civil litigation continues,” he said.
“I think he regrets this incident with all of his heart,” Brafman said. “We view her as either evil or pathetic or both,” he said of Diallo.
Taylor, in the CNN interview, called Diallo an “accomplished actress.” “She doesn’t have much of a chance in a civil case,” Taylor said. “We’re not worried about a civil case.”
Kenneth Thompson, an attorney for Miss Diallo, said the ordeal was nothing compared to his client’s. The 33-year-old Guinean single mother maintains Mr Strauss-Kahn violently groped her and forced her to perform oral sex after she fought off his attempted rape when she arrived to clean his room.
“If Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a construction worker from Harlem, do you really believe that District Attorney Cyrus Vance would turn his back on a seven-count indictment that a grand jury returned based on the evidence that he presented,” Thompson told reporters after yesterday’s court hearing.
“Whatever has been said, a man with the abilities of Dominique Strauss-Kahn can be useful to his country in the months and years to come,” Francois Hollande, the front-runner among six candidates for the Socialist primary, told France Inter radio.
Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, could make a dramatic return to French public life, but with his image tarnished by all the media attention, most political analysts doubt he would risk competing with President Nicolas Sarkozy on April’s ballot.