Strauss-Kahn talks of his nightmare as court drama comes to an end

 

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A US judge yesterday agreed to terminate the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief.

"The indictment is dismissed. The security order is vacated," Judge Michael Obus said. The decision was made after the prosecution claimed that the accuser in the case, the Guinean-born hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo, had repeatedly lied to them to the point where proving her claims regarding an alleged sexual assault in a hotel room on 14 May beyond a reasonable doubt appeared impossible.

His words, delivered in a packed Manhattan courtroom, signalled the end to a drama that has consumed Mr Strauss-Kahn's native France where he was once seen as a likely presidential candidate, and seriously embarrassed the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr.

"These past two and a half months have been a nightmare for me and my family," Mr Strauss-Kahn said in a hastily issued statement. "I want to thank all the friends in France and in the United States who have believed in my innocence, and to the thousands of people who sent us their support personally and in writing. I am most deeply grateful to my wife and family who have gone through this ordeal with me."

If there was vindication for Mr Strauss-Kahn it was tinged by the knowledge that the damage done to his reputation may never be repaired. He was expected later yesterday – his passport returned – to head first to his home in Washington with his wife, Anne Sinclair, and thereafter to Paris or a holiday home in Morocco.

There was little disguising how comprehensively the tables had been turned on Ms Diallo, 33, who through her own misrepresentations had sabotaged the case. She was inconsistent about the incident itself. She had mentioned monetary gain in a taped telephone call with a "fiancé" who was in a detention centre in Arizona. She had also told a story of being gang-raped in Guinea when seeking asylum in the US that turned out to be a fiction.

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