(Adds background of case from 8th paragraph.)
July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Prosecutors agreed to release former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance, two people familiar with the matter said.
Strauss-Kahn, accused of a sexual attack on a hotel maid in New York, will have his bail returned and would still be subject to travel restrictions while he faces charges, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak on the matter.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office plans to tell a New York state court judge today that its investigation raised doubts about the victim’s credibility, said a third person familiar with the matter. Prosecutors disclosed the information to Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, the person said. At that 11:30 a.m. hearing before New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus, the bail issue is scheduled to be discussed.
“When the district attorney outlined the charges voted on by the grand jury, he said the office would continue to investigate the facts of this case, wherever they lead,” Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., said in an e-mail today in response to questions about the handling of the case. “That is exactly what the office has done.”
“There will be certain disclosures made about the credibility of the witness,” Benjamin Brafman, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, said yesterday in a phone interview. The hearing scheduled for today will include a request for “substantial modifications” to Strauss-Kahn’s bail conditions, Brafman said. He declined to comment further.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, is awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a Manhattan hotel maid on May 14. He pleaded not guilty and is free on bail under security conditions that include electronic monitoring and an armed guard.
The former IMF chief is living in a rented townhouse in the Tribeca section of Manhattan, only blocks from the courthouse. Since his release from jail on May 20, he has been allowed to leave home only for legal, medical and religious purposes. He posted $1 million cash bail and a $5 million bond.
Strauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a housekeeper, a 32- year-old from Guinea, at the Midtown Manhattan Sofitel on May 14, grabbing her breasts and trying to pull down her pantyhose, prosecutors have said in court papers. The former IMF chief attempted to rape her and forced her to engage in oral sex, according to the indictment.
In a May 25 letter to the Manhattan district attorney complaining about media leaks in the case, Brafman and co- counsel William Taylor III said that, if they wanted to feed the media frenzy, they could release information that would “gravely undermine the credibility” of the woman.
The prosecutor’s office responded in a letter May 26 saying it was “troubled” by the defense lawyers’ claims they possessed information that might negatively affect the case and the woman’s credibility.
“We are aware of no such information,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon wrote. “If you really do possess the kind of information that you suggest that you do, we trust you will forward it immediately.”
Strauss-Kahn was indicted on seven counts, including attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. If convicted of the top charges, he faces as long as 25 years in prison.
Polls had shown Strauss-Kahn as the potential candidate with the best chance of beating French President Nicolas Sarkozy in next May’s general election. Socialist Party hopefuls have until July 13 to register for their primary, which is scheduled for October.
The case is People v. Strauss-Kahn, 2526/11, Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County (Manhattan).
--Editors: Mary Romano, John Pickering
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