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Tue 23 Aug 2011 08:41 PM

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Sex assault charges dropped against former IMF chief

New York judge drops charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn as accuser loses credibility

Sex assault charges dropped against former IMF chief
Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair. (AFP/Getty Images)

A New York judge
dropped all criminal sexual assault charges against ex-IMF chief
Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday after prosecutors lost faith in the
credibility of his accuser.

But the formal end of the case awaited the outcome of a last-ditch emergency appeal.

York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus accepted the prosecutors'
request for dismissal of all charges. The move left the man once seen
as the leading contender to be the next president of France close to
freedom and the chance to try to rebuild his tarnished political career.

former head of the International Monetary Fund appeared in court with
his wife Anne Sinclair by his side and the pair left the hearing
smiling, amid a throng of media.

was not yet free to return to France, after New York State Supreme
Court Justice Michael Obus stayed his dismissal of the case for an
emergency appeal.

A lawyer for the
accuser, hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, had requested a special
prosecutor to continue the criminal case. Earlier on Tuesday, Obus
dismissed the request.

But Diallo's lawyers appealed that decision. Obus
said the appeals court would rule on that later on Tuesday, meaning
Strauss-Kahn must await that verdict before he is free to return to

Prosecutors with the
Manhattan District Attorney's office on Monday outlined how they lost
faith in the accuser, hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, a 32-year-old
immigrant from Guinea who alleged Strauss-Kahn attacked her in his
luxury hotel suite and forced her to perform oral sex.

her account of the assault remained steadfast, Diallo told a series of
lies about her past and about what happened immediately after the
incident in the $3,000-a-night suite in New York's
Sofitel hotel on May 14, undermining her credibility, prosecutors said.

evidence was unable to prove lack of consent, leaving the case hinging
on the believability of the accuser. But with her testimony changing
again and again and as more and more lies about her past emerged,
prosecutors concluded in a 25-page filing, "If we do not believe her
beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so."

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