Strauss-Kahn free from house arrest
Published 01/07/2011 | 03:32
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has walked out of court freed from house arrest after prosecutors said doubts had been raised over the credibility of the hotel maid accusing him of sexual assault.
Strauss-Kahn had been under house arrest for weeks in a Manhattan loft on six million dollars (£3.7 million) in cash and bond.
The charges, which include attempted rape, have not been reduced, but the move signals that prosecutors do not believe the accusations are as ironclad as they once seemed.
The French politician's passport remained surrendered, and he will not yet be allowed to leave the country. One of his lawyers, Benjamin Brafman, said Strauss-Kahn would be free to travel within the United States.
The 32-year-old hotel maid accused Strauss-Kahn of chasing her through his luxury suite in May and attacking her.
"It is a great relief," said another of Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, William Taylor, adding that the case underscores "how easy it is for people to be charged with serious crimes and for there to be a rush to judgment".
"It is so important in this country that people, especially the media, refrain from judgment until the facts are all in," he said.
The accuser's lawyer did not back down on the seriousness of the charges. "From day one she has described a violent sexual assault that Dominique Strauss-Kahn committed against her," lawyer Ken Thompson said. "She has described that sexual assault many times, to prosecutors and to me, and she has never once changed a single thing about that encounter," he said.
He referred to media reports that his client was involved with a drug dealer, calling them lies.
Strauss-Kahn arrived at the courthouse and strode confidently up the granite steps with his wife, French journalist Anne Sinclair, at his side. He wore a dark grey suit, and she a white jacket. After the hearing, he walked slowly out of the courthouse with his arm on her shoulder, smiling slightly at the throng gathered outside.