New York – Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is no longer under house arrest, but remains charged with sexual assault and the attempted rape of a hotel maid, New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus ruled here Friday.
The 62-year-old French politico and economist appeared Friday before the court that is trying his case after his defense and the Manhattan district attorney's office found elements that raise questions about the credibility of his accuser, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant.
The judge decided to impound Strauss-Kahn's passport to prevent him leaving the United States, but lifted the original order mandating $6 million in bail and insurance bonds.
"The case is not over as you have heard," Obus told Strauss-Kahn at Friday's hearing, reminding the defendant he is due in court again on July 18.
Strauss-Kahn "is free to travel" within the United States, defense attorney Benjamin Brafman said to the press, adding that today's decision "is the first step" toward the complete exoneration of his client.
At the end of the visit, the accuser's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, said that medical tests exist that provide evidence that Strauss-Kahn attacked the victim.
"The only defense that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has is that this sexual encounter was consensual. That is a lie," Thompson said.
Asked about the defense's discovery of the alleged lies his client told when seeking political asylum in the United States, Thompson said that the victim came forward on her own to acknowledge problems with the asylum application.
The media attention and controversy surrounding the charges against Strauss-Kahn took an unexpected turn after the French politician's defense found new reasons to doubt the plaintiff's credibility and the Manhattan DA's office evinced similar doubts.
Strauss-Kahn was arrested May 14 at New York's JFK Airport as he was leaving for Paris, after having been accused by the hotel maid of sexual assault and attempted rape.
Within days, he resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and the accusation appeared to destroy his hopes of winning France's 2012 presidential election.