Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released without bail on Friday after a dramatic court hearing where the sexual assault case against him appeared to shift in his favour.
The turnabout could upend French politics. Strauss-Kahn,62, was a strong candidate for the 2012 French presidential election until his May 14 arrest and subsequent charges on attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York.
At a hearing to seek changes to his bail conditions, prosecutors said the credibility of the woman at the centre of the case had been thrown into question. As a result, the court agreed to let Strauss-Kahn be freed and his bail and bond returned. He agreed to return to court as needed, including for a July 18 hearing.
“I understand that the circumstances of this case have changed substantially and I agree the risk that he would not be here has receded quite a bit. I release Strauss-Kahn at his own recognizance,” Justice Michael Obus told the court.
Strauss-Kahn smiled as he walked out of the court. He still faces felony charges of attempted rape and sexual assault.
The arrest forced his resignation from the International Monetary Fund and appeared to end his presidential hopes, weeks before he had planned to declare his candidacy.
Strauss-Kahn’s supporters in the French Socialist party voiced delight at the apparent reversal and some said they hoped he might re-enter the 2012 presidential race.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.
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