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More Questions Raised about Strauss-Kahn Accuser

Saturday, 02 Jul 2011 03:40 PM

* Woman spoke of DSK's wealth a day after alleging attack

* As her stature falls, chance of comeback rises for him

By Daniel Trotta and Noeleen Walder

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scrutiny of the accuser in the sexual assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn intensified on Saturday after more revelations about her conduct following the purported May 14 attack.

A judge released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest and lifted strict bail conditions on Friday after prosecutors discovered a pattern of lying in her background, although serious charges including sexual assault and attempted rape remain in place against the man once seen a top French presidential contender.

A new report says the 32-year-old woman, a hotel maid, spoke of the possibility of financial gain from the incident.

In a phone conversation with her boyfriend, who was held in an Arizona jail on suspicion of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana, she said there was money to be made from Strauss-Kahn, a law-enforcement source familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Saturday.

The call was recorded, and the woman told her boyfriend she was fine and not to worry about her, the source said.

The New York Times quoted a well-placed law enforcement official as saying: "She says words to the effect of, 'Don't worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I'm doing."'

On Friday, prosecutors said the accuser lied about being gang-raped in Guinea as part of an application for U.S. asylum and changed details of her story about what she did after the incident in Straus-Kahn's luxury hotel suite.

As the woman's stature falls, that of Strauss-Kahn has rebounded. Some in France are talking about a political comeback, though perhaps not to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.

Prosecutors have not dismissed the case, and sexual assault charges against Strauss-Kahn stand.

But the revelations left prosecutors struggling to make a case with a central witness whose credibility would be targeted by Strauss-Kahn's defense lawyers should the case advance.

Investigators once trumpeted the woman as a devout Muslim who immediately reported that Strauss-Kahn, a steward of the world economy from the French elite, sprang naked from the bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex.

Her own lawyer came to her defense on Friday, portraying her as a frightened, illiterate woman who remained a victim, her body badly bruised in the encounter.

"The victim here may have made some mistakes, but that doesn't mean she's not a rape victim," said Kenneth Thompson.

After his arrest, Strauss-Kahn was paraded handcuffed before cameras in a "perp walk" that drew outrage in France, where the American tradition was viewed as barbaric.

With his fortunes reversed once again, observers wondered what role he might play in French politics if the charges are dropped.

"Everything is still on the table," French member of parliament Marisol Touraine told French newspaper Le Figaro. "He will play a political role. How exactly is up to him." (Additional reporting by Leila Abboud in Paris; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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* Woman spoke of DSK's wealth a day after alleging attack * As her stature falls, chance of comeback rises for him By Daniel Trotta and Noeleen Walder NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scrutiny of the accuser in the sexual assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn...
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Saturday, 02 Jul 2011 03:40 PM
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