DSK's friends show crass indecency, says French accuser

The writer who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape has said his allies have shown "crass indecency" in celebrating the dismissal of sexual assault charges against him.

Tristane Banon's lawyer, David Koubbi, told the French newspaper 20 Minutes that the development had prompted "a session of self-congratulations from the friends of DSK. The DSK affair in France is only beginning".

Ms Banon, 32, has accused the former International Monetary Fund chief of trying to rape her in 2003. An investigation is under way, but judicial sources have told the Reuters news agency that the complaint is not likely to proceed due to a lack of evidence.

In response to the US charges decision, interim Socialist Party secretary Harlem Désir, said: "It's an enormous relief, it's the happy ending that all his friends were hoping for." The front-runner for October's Socialist Party primaries, François Hollande, said he was "rejoicing", and his rival Martine Aubry said she was "very happy".

Even the secretary-general of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, Jean-François Copé, welcomed the news. Most said it was too soon to tell whether Mr Strauss-Kahn will be making a return to politics.

"So much competence, culture, savoir-faire and seduction deserve better than this awful affair," Defence Minister Gérard Longuet said. "In the field of ideas, we will still listen to him, in the field of political responsibly, I think that will be much harder for him."

Until the scandal broke, Mr Strauss-Kahn had been the favourite to win the Socialist Party ticket for next year's presidential election.

But the deadline has now passed to declare candidacy in the race, and Mr Strauss-Kahn's popularity among left-wing voters was significantly lower than that of Ms Aubry or Mr Hollande in a poll this week.

"The whole story casts a looming shadow on his political future," said Nonna Mayer, one of the poll researchers. "Among women there's definitely distrust. Many things have come out that we didn't know before. We're in a time where gender and equality matter more than before."

Politician Marie-George Buffet called it, "bad news for justice and for women".

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