When former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with the attempted sexual assault of a hotel housekeeper by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, the charges arose out of allegations that he forced the woman to perform oral sex on him in his luxury hotel room.
Strauss-Kahn, who was a favored candidate for the French presidency before the allegations, has pled not guilty. His criminal defense attorneys accuse the alleged victim of pursuing false sexual assault claims, perhaps because of a financial motivation. They also point to evidence that she may have made false rape allegations in the past.
When that evidence was discovered, the housekeeper's credibility was deeply damaged, and with it the prosecution's case. Many of Strauss-Kahn's extremely restrictive and expensive bond requirements were lifted, and it looked like the charges against him might be dropped.
Woman who accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape gives press conference to shore up her credibility
In a very unusual move in a sex crime case, the housekeeper responded to the possibility that the criminal charges could be dropped due to her lack of credibility by speaking out about the story. Earlier this week, she gave interviews to Newsweek magazine and ABC News and held a press conference.
Questions about the housekeeper's credibility were raised early on in the case when a tape recording surfaced of the African-born immigrant conversing in her native language with a fellow immigrant. The tape was originally thought to contain evidence that the woman intentionally planned to go after Strauss-Kahn's wealth.
The woman's attorney contends that the translation of that recording was wrong, and she was actually telling her incarcerated friend that the allegations of her trying to get a payout were not true. The District Attorney's office has yet to confirm the translation.
In addition to the allegation that she was financially motivated to file the criminal charges, the housekeeper has been accused of lying on an application for asylum in the U.S. -- notably claiming that she needed asylum because she had been gang-raped in her native Guinea. She has also been accused of being a prostitute.
Her supporters claim the interviews and press conference were a way to restore her honor and give her a chance to tell her side of the story, although it could be equally said that she is trying to shore up her reputation. Her attorney has confirmed that even if criminal charges are dropped, the woman will be seeking monetary damages in a civil suit.
Strauss-Kahn maintains his innocence in the face of these allegations and stands a good chance of getting the charges against him dropped. His hearings have been continued several times as prosecutors attempt to sort out the muddled facts of the alleged sexual assault.
Source: ABC News, "'I cry every day': Strauss-Kahn accuser," July 29, 2011