Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s political career won’t be revived after Paris prosecutors became the second law-enforcement agency to drop an attempted rape case against the former head of the International Monetary Fund.
The Paris public prosecutor dropped an inquiry yesterday relating to a 2003 incident, saying police hadn’t found proof of attempted rape and the statute of limitations had expired on evidence of a possible sexual assault.
Strauss-Kahn, once France’s finance minister, led President Nicolas Sarkozy by 5 percentage points in an April poll posing possible candidates for next year’s presidential election. In May, he was arrested in New York and charged with attempted rape and sexual assault based on the claims of a Manhattan hotel maid. He resigned as the IMF’s managing director and later missed the deadline to register as a Socialist candidate.
“His image is extraordinarily stained,” Gerard Grunberg, a professor at the Political Sciences Institute in Paris, said in a phone interview. “His political career is over.”
While the New York case was dropped as well, his reputation and future as a Socialist Party leader were tarnished as details of marital infidelities and his opulent lifestyle, living in a 6,804-square-foot townhouse in the Tribeca section of Lower Manhattan while under house arrest, were broadcast almost daily.
The French complaint was filed in July by Tristane Banon, a French novelist and daughter of a Socialist politician. Her mother Anne Mansouret said she discouraged her daughter from filing a complaint in 2003, when Strauss-Kahn was a member of France’s National Assembly, because she feared it would come to nothing.
“There is nothing, nothing, nothing that shows what Miss Banon said was true,” Henri Leclerc, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, said in an interview on France 2 television.
Strauss-Kahn still faces a civil lawsuit filed by the hotel maid in New York. Banon said at a Paris rally last month for tougher treatment of violence against women that she may file her case directly to an investigating judge as a private prosecution or pursue a civil case.
“This decision by the prosecution, while unsatisfying, is a first victory for Miss Banon after five months of difficult struggle,” David Koubbi, a lawyer for Banon, said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s established without reserve that her case wasn’t empty.”
Such investigations may prolong Strauss-Kahn’s legal troubles. Still, the lack of evidence uncovered so far of a crime that wouldn’t be barred by statute-of-limitations rules means any further probes will likely lead to similar outcomes in France, said Denis Chemla, a Paris lawyer who isn’t involved in the matter.
“It will last years and Mr. Strauss-Kahn will be investigated, but I don’t see how any investigation could end in anything other than a dismissal,” Chemla said. “There isn’t proof.”
--Editor: Anthony Aarons, Michael Hytha
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