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French Socialists hopeful after reports that Strauss-Kahn sex case crumbling

Reuters
3 min

French Socialists are hoping that former IMF chief Dominique Stauss-Kahn could return to the political scene after reports that the sexual assault case against him is collapsing. Strauss-Kahn is to make a surprise appearance in court Friday where prosecutors are expected to tell the judge that they have problems with the case.

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Investigators have found problems with the credibility of the housekeeper who claims Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in a New York hotel on 14 May, according to the New York Times.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Forensic tests have shown that a sexual encounter took place, although the defence is expected to argue that it was consensual.

“There are major problems with the case,” one official told the paper, whose sources said that the witness had “repeatedly lied”.

The woman is reported to have phoned a man jailed for possessing 180 kilograms of marijuana and discussed possible benefits of pursuing charges. He is one of several individuals said to have made payments into her bank account totalling 100,000 dollars (69,000 euros).

The paper also reports differences between her asylum application and statements she made to investigators.

Before the revelations, the defence said that it would target the woman’s credibility.

Friday’s hearing may see Strauss-Kahn’s bail conditions eased and prosecutors may ask him to plead guilty to a misdemeanour.

The defence is also likely to challenge the legality of the identification lineup, according to French newspaperLibération.

Leading French Socialists speculated that their comrade, who was tipped to become a presidential candidate before the assault case blew up, may return to political life and could even still be a presidential candidate.

Party leader Martine Aubry, declaring herself to be a friend of Strauss-Kahn, said that she hoped that the US justice system will reveal "the whole truth" of the affair and allow him to "get out of this nightmare".

"All those who speculated on his political disappearance will now have to reckon with a person who, I hope, will soon be free to move around and will be able to look the French straight in the eye," Socialist MP Jean-Marie Le Guen told France Inter radio.

Another Strauss-Kahn ally, deputy mayor of Sarcelles François Pupponi, asked why he could not stand as presidential candidate if he is cleared of the charges.

In fact, judgement may not be passed until after the party has chosen its candidate but commentators say that he could be offered the premiership in the event of a Socialist win in legislative elections.

Coverage of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest sparked an intense debate in France and internationally on the media and the presumption of innocence and different attitudes to the behaviour of powerful individuals. Many French people declared that Strauss-Kahn was the victim of a conspiracy.

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