NEW YORK — Prosecutors are asking the court to drop some or all charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, according to documents filed today.
The filing in the sexual assault case against the former International Monetary Fund leader was not immediately made public but details were released later in the day.
The testimony of a hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault was not convincing beyond a reasonable doubt to present to a jury, the filings showed.
The document sent to a judge in New York State Supreme Court said prosecutors were "no longer convinced of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
It said Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel cleaner who said Strauss-Kahn had forced her to perform oral sex on May 14 "has not been truthful on matters great and small."
Diallo, who accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, met for about 10 minutes with prosecutors Monday, shortly before prosecutors moved to drop charges.
Diallo arrived with her lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, who spoke briefly with the media following the meeting. A few minutes later, prosecutors filed a recommendation for dismissal at the court clerk's office.
But nearly four months after authorities pulled Strauss-Kahn off an Air France plane and charged him with sexually assaulting the maid at a Manhattan hotel, Strauss-Kahn, 62, may have escaped criminal liability but he still faces ongoing legal troubles on multiple fronts.
On Aug. 8, attorney's for the 32-year-old Diallo hit Strauss-Kahn with a civil suit, accusing him of sexually assaulting her in a "violent sadistic attack" at the Sofitel hotel on May 14.
The suit, filed in state Supreme Court in the Bronx, claims that a naked Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom of his luxury suite and forced Diallo to perform oral sex on him.
The complaint, which does not specify the amount of damages Diallo is seeking, claims the alleged assault left "Ms. Diallo's life and her young daughter's life in shambles."
Strauss-Kahn has not yet responded to the allegations.
Even if criminal charges are dropped, Diallo has a shot at prevailing in a civil action, where she need only show that it is more likely than not that Strauss-Kahn attacked her. (In a criminal case, prosecutors would have to prove Strauss-Kahn's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt -- a much stricter standard.)
If she were to win, Diallo could still have a tough time collecting any money from Strauss-Kahn if he has returned to France.Meanwhile, some legal observers predict that Strauss-Kahn will settle the civil case with Diallo, which would allow him to keep the terms of any deal confidential
On Monday, Diallo's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, filed a motion requesting that the judge overseeing the criminal case "immediately disqualify" Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and "appoint a special prosecutor with no biases and/or prejudices.
"In a shockingly dereliction of duty, the DA has sabotaged defendant Strauss-Kahn's prosecution," Thompson wrote in the motion, claiming that the district attorney's office subjected Diallo to verbal abuse and leaked damaging information about her to the press.
Thompson first asked Vance to step down and appoint a special prosecutor in July, shortly after prosecutors claimed that Diallo had lied on her asylum application and changed details about what happened following the alleged attack.
Defense attorney Ronald Kuby said it is unlikely that a judge has the power to grant Thompson's request. New York governor Andrew Cuomo is the only person who has the "unquestioned" authority to appoint a special prosecutor in this case, he said.
Kuby added that the likelihood of Cuomo removing Vance from the case is "effectively zero."
Soon after the revelation of doubts about Diallo's credibility turned the criminal case on its head, Strauss-Kahn was hit with a criminal complaint in France by Tristane Banon, a French journalist who said he attempted to rape her in 2003.
Banon, 32, claimed Strauss-Kahn attacked her while she was interviewing him in a Paris apartment.
Authorities in France are investigating the allegations, but a source told Reuters that the case could be shelved due to the difficulty of proving attempted rape nearly a decade later. The statute of limitations for the lesser charge of sexual aggression has already expired, further reducing Banon's chances of prevailing.<
Strauss-Kahn has sued Banon for defamation.
Attorneys for Diallo have said that they will introduce evidence in the civil suit from other women who have complained about Strauss-Kahn. In early August, Thompson's law firm partner Douglas Wigdor told France 24 television, "We've spoken to many women who've recounted what he has done to them, both physically and psychologically."
While it is unclear whether these women are claiming that Strauss-Kahn forced them to engage in non-consensual sex, Wigdor's statements raise the possibility that the former IMF chief could face future civil or criminal complaints.
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