In Strauss-Kahn case, DA weighs limited options

Court Watch Posted on

At first, prosecutors said their sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn was growing more formidable by the day. Six weeks later, they said his accuser's history of lying raised major red flags, but they weren't dropping the case, at least for now.

With the former International Monetary Fund leader freed from house arrest because the case has weakened, prosecutors aren't saying what their next move may be.

Some legal experts say prosecutors will all but have to abandon the case because of the damage to the accuser's overall credibility, even if they believe Strauss-Kahn attacked the woman, a housekeeper at a New York City hotel where he was staying. Still, at least one former high-level prosecutor thinks the case isn't doomed.

For now, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is saying only that prosecutors will keep investigating "until we have uncovered all relevant facts."

"Sometimes the road to get to the truth has twists and turns in it, which are not always apparent at the outset," he said in a statement Sunday. "What is important is not a win or a loss, but rather to ensure the criminal justice system balances the rights of all those who come before it."

Prosecutors have a number of options, including going ahead with the current charges or reducing them.

They could try to negotiate a plea deal, though it's unclear whether Strauss-Kahn would entertain one. He has asserted his innocence, and the doubts raised about the woman's trustworthiness would likely improve his chances at a trial. While prosecutors haven't questioned her account of the alleged attack itself, they say she's been untruthful about a number of other things, including what she did right afterward. That could make potential jurors reluctant to take her word over Strauss-Kahn's.

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