A Manhattan Judge denied a request for a special prosecutor by the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn - the former head of the International Monetary Fund and one-time contender for the French presidency, of sexual assault - less than an hour before he was due at court.
Lawyers for Nafissatou Diallo, the maid in question who worked at the upscale Sofitel hotel, asked New York Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus to appoint a special prosecutor to the case on Monday, saying Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office was unfit to handle the case. However, Obus issued a written ruling on Tuesday shortly before he was expected to completely dismiss the charges brought against Strauss-Kahn.
After considering the allegations in the complainant's application, in light of the circumstances of this case, the court concludes that nothing called to its attention establishes disqualification or warrants removal of the elected District Attorney of this county, Judge Obus said in a two-page ruling.
Diallo claimed she was sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn, 62, in his suite at the Sofitel hotel on May 14, after she attempted to enter his room to clean. The French diplomat was taken off a departing Air France flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport and subsequently arrested a few hours after the alleged incident took place.
While prosecutors initially touted the accuser as the cases strongest point, saying her account of the incident contained powerful details that were corroborated by a medical exam, they later recounted. By Monday, the prosecution said Diallo's numerous lies about her past - including a false account of her being gang raped by soldiers in her native Guinea - undermined the case.
However, Diallo, who made her identity public, still has a civil lawsuit pending against Strauss-Kahn for unspecified monetary damages. Her lawyer, Kenneth P. Thompson, has fiercely defended his client's assertion that she was assaulted by Strauss-Kahn and said Vance's office abandoned the case too soon.
After the hearing, Strauss-Kahn issued a statement thanking the judge, his wife and family for their support during the past two and a half months, which he described as being, a nightmare for me and my family.
The case attracted international attention since Strauss-Kahn, a prominent figure in France's Socialist Party, was considered a leading contender for the French presidency at the time of his arrest. Moreover, his arrest was followed by a plethora of media reports about his notorious womanizing.
The most disturbing story to come to light was an allegation by French journalist Tristane Banon, who said Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her during a private interview in 2002. Banon alleges that she decided to not press charges after the story was covered up in the French media.
In addition, Banon - who is the goddaughter of Strauss-Khan's second wife, Brigitte Guillemette - said the situation was complicated after her mother, Anne Mansouret, revealed she had a brutal, but consensual, sexual encounter with Strauss-Kahn in 2000.