Strauss-Kahn hearing postponed until August
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The next court hearing for former IMF chief Domique Strauss-Kahn has been postponed until 1 August after a request by both sides for more time to continue their investigations into allegations of sexual assault made by a New York hotel maid.
Strauss-Kahn was due to appear before judge Michael Obus on 18 July on seven charges relating to the incident which took place in May in the Sofitel hotel in New York, but the case suffered a major setback when prosecutors said the women had lied in sworn testimony.
“The people and the defense on the above matter jointly request an administrative adjournment on consent of both parties in lieu of a court appearance on 18 July,” they said in a joint letter to the judge.
In a surprise move, Strauss-Kahn was released last week under oath after spending weeks under house arrest. The move increased speculation the charges against him were to be dropped. But a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the case is continuing and no decisions have been made.
Prosecutors are coming under pressure from a coalition of women’s rights groups and community leaders to continue the case against Strauss-Kahn. The woman’s lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, has written to Vance asking that his office appoint a special prosecutor citing a “potential conflict of interest”.
Thompson says Vance is afraid to take the case to court for fear of losing such a high-profile case.
Meanwhile, Monday French police questioned a French writer over her claim that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003, in a case that could wreck his hopes of a political return.
Detectives from the Paris violent crimes squad interviewed Tristane Banon, 32, who in 2007 publicly accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to force himself on her "like a rutting chimpanzee".
Paris police have been asked by investigating magistrates to look into her formal complaint lodged last week. French prosecutors will then decide whether or not to charge him.
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