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Dominique Strauss-Kahn case sees sudden shift

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: New revelations that Dominique Strauss-Kahn's accuser may not be credible could rehabilitate the political career of one of France's most powerful figures ahead of 2012 elections.

By Staff writer / July 1, 2011

In this June 6 file photo, former IMF leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears at his arraignment on charges of sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid, at State Supreme Court in New York.

Allan Tannenbaum/AP

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Paris

France is truly stunned this morning and thrown into political uncertainty over reports that Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser in an alleged hotel rape case appears to be unreliable.

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The case against Mr. Strauss-Kahn, which caused him to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the midst of a European debt crisis and seemingly ended his bid for the French presidency, is “on the verge of collapse” according to a New York Times report citing a pair of "well-placed" law enforcement officials.

In France, senior political allies in the Socialist camp like Lionel Jospin and Jean-Marie Leguen immediately called for Strauss-Kahn’s “rehabilitation.” Strauss-Kahn's potential reentry into politics comes just as the field of presidential contenders is taking shape with the emergence of senior party leader François Hollande.

Some political figures called for a suspension of political primaries to allow Strauss-Kahn to speak out; one challenger from President Nicolas Sarkozy's own UMP party welcomed Strauss-Kahn back to the fight.

"This is like a thunderbolt, but it would be too early to bet on his return to politics,” said Mr. Jospin, a former prime minister and friend of Strauss-Kahn. After the gauntlet Strauss-Kahn has endured, and if charges are dropped, “it would first be up to him to decide about what to do. Then only will it be up to the Socialists and the Socialist leaders to make a decision. Honestly, it is too early to [speak on] this,” Jospin said.

Revelations put maid's credibility in doubt

Talk radio in France is convulsed over the US judicial process that put Strauss-Kahn on the coals; prior to the May 14 charge many here assumed he would either be the next president or the runner-up. Nearly all the information circulating in France is based on the Times report.

According to the Times, there is "unambiguous" evidence of a sexual incident involving Strauss-Kahn and a maid who entered his suite at the Sofitel hotel. However the maid, a Guinean woman, who has been depicted in media reports as quiet and reliable, has “repeatedly lied” to police about her status and personal life.

After the alleged Strauss-Kahn incident she phoned a friend incarcerated in jail for possession of 400 pounds of marijuana, to seek advice on treating with the French senior politician. The conversation was taped. Also reportedly discovered were stashes of unattributed money deposited in the bank accounts held by the maid in several states

Prosecutors met yesterday with Strauss-Kahn's lawyers to share their findings. The revelations are likely to raise credibility problems for an accuser who, while relying on forensic evidence for her accusation of sexual assault, faces a “he said-she said” debate on the rape charge. Strauss-Kahn, often called “DSK” in France, pleaded not guilty in his arraignment.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s bail and judicial status could reportedly ease as early as today.

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