UPDATE: It's official: A New York judge freed Dominique Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance Friday morning, easing the extraordinary bail conditions that had kept the former IMF chief under 24-hour house arrest.
The judge's ruling came after prosecutors discovered a number of inaccuracies in DSK's accuser's story, and marks an extraordinary reversal of fortunes for the French politician who is accused of sexual assault and attempted rape.
Still, prosecutors stressed that they are not dismissing the case outright.
"I understand that the circumstances of this case have changed substantially and I agree the risk that he would not be here has receded quite a bit. I release Mr. Strauss-Kahn at his own recognizance," Justice Michael Obus told the court, according to Reuters.
DSK will still be subject to travel restrictions but will have his bail returned. He has agreed to return to court as needed, including for his next scheduled court date on July 18.
Lawyers for the Guinean maid who has accused DSK of sexually assaulting her had this to say: "It's a fact she made some mistakes - that doesn't mean she's not a rape victim," the BBC reports.
UPDATE at 10:44 a.m: Prosecutors have agreed to release Dominique Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance, Bloomberg reports.
DSK is due in court later Friday when a judge is expected to reconsider his current bail conditions, which keep the former IMF chief under 24-hour house arrest at a private residence. Under the deal the prosecution and defense have worked out, DSK will still be subject to travel restrictions but will have his bail returned, sources tell the news wire.
The hearing will likely mark a significant turning point in the case, as prosecutors plan to tell the judge that they now have a serious doubts about the accuser's credibility.
Original Post Thursday at 10:31 p.m.: The criminal case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is in trouble and the state is considering dropping the felony charges against the former IMF chief, the New York Times reported in a bombshell exclusive late Thursday.
Citing two “well-placed” law enforcement officials, the paper reports that although DNA tests found “unambiguous evidence” that a sexual encounter did occur between DSK and the Guinean housekeeper who has accused him of sexual assault, investigators have uncovered a number of “major holes” in the accuser’s credibility and now have serious doubts about her story.
Strauss-Kahn is due back in court on Friday, when a judge is expected to consider relaxing the extraordinary bail conditions that have kept the French politician under 24-hour house arrest.
The Times reports that at the hearing DSK “could be released on his own recognizance, and freed from house arrest, reflecting the likelihood that the serious criminal charges against him will not be sustained.”
Senior prosecutors met with Strauss-Kahn’s legal team Thursday to share details of their findings, and the two sides are discussing whether to dismiss the felony charges all together.
Among the number of red flags that law enforcement officials have reportedly uncovered include the discovery that the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with DSK in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing charges against him. The conversation was recorded.
That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He was among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and New York.
The law enforcement sources also told the paper that the woman has repeatedly lied to prosecutors about everything from how many cell phones she has to details of her asylum application.
“It is a mess, a mess on both sides,” one of the officials told the paper.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the sub-head on this post mistakenly attributed a quote to the defense lawyers. It came from the maid's lawyers.