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Entries in IMF (18)

Tuesday
Aug302011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Visits IMF, Apologizes for Scandal

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn paid a visit to the Washington D.C. headquarters of the International Monetary Fund Monday to say farewell to staffers and to meet with his successor, less than a week after New York prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against him.

William Murray, a spokesman for the IMF, said Strauss-Kahn met with current managing director Christine Lagarde and other staffers.

One IMF staffer told AFP that Strauss-Kahn addressed employees and said he wanted to “apologize to those who have been hurt” by the scandal.  The staffer said the former IMF head said he was sorry the case had a negative impact on the organization.

Strauss-Kahn resigned as the head of the IMF in May after he was charged with attempted rape and criminal sexual contact in connection with an alleged attack on a Manhattan hotel maid.  All criminal charges have been dismissed, but Strauss-Kahn still faces a civil lawsuit filed by his accuser.

Strauss-Kahn, a leader in France's Socialist Party, has expressed a desire to return home, but it’s unclear if he still intends to run for president in an effort to unseat incumbent Nikolas Sarkozy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug232011

Judge Dismisses Charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A judge in New York on Tuesday threw out the sexual assault case brought against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief and French presidential hopeful.

The ruling came shortly after the judge rejected a plea by Strauss-Kahn's accuser, hotel maid Naifissatou Diallo, to have the Manhattan district attorney's office replaced by a special prosecutor.

New York Criminal Court Judge Michael Obus granted a motion from prosecutors to dismiss all charges against the international power broker known simply as DSK, ending a highly publicized prosecution without answering the question of what really happened between Strauss-Kahn and the maid assigned to clean his hotel suite.

"I see no basis to deny that application" to dismiss the charges, Obus said. The judge stayed the order pending any appellate issues.

Defense attorneys said Strauss-Kahn would not return Tuesday to France but to his townhouse in New York.

Following the ruling, Strauss-Kahn walked out of court without answering questions from reporters, but released a statement shortly after saying he was grateful that the "nightmare" was over.

What was once viewed as a "strong" case based on an "unwavering" accuser fell apart amid "substantial" questions about the maid's credibility.

Assistant District Attorneys Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Artie McConnell said the accuser "provided shifting and inconsistent versions of the events" and therefore they can't be sure "of what actually happened."

"We were no longer able to credit her version beyond a reasonable doubt," Illuzzi-Orbon said in court.

"We respectfully request that the court dismiss the indictment," she said.

During the investigation into the incident, prosecutors say, Diallo presented three different versions of the alleged assault and lied under oath. Her credibility "cannot withstand the most basic evaluation," prosecutors said in the motion.

Strauss-Kahn had long maintained he was innocent of the charges.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug232011

Prosecutors File Motion to Dismiss Strauss-Kahn Charges

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York prosecutors on Monday asked a judge to dismiss sexual assault charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, citing questions about his accuser's truthfulness.

Strauss-Kahn had been accused of sexually assaulting Sofitel Hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo in May.

In a 25-page motion filed with Judge Michael Obus, prosecutors said "evidence gathered in our post indictment investigation severely undermined her reliability as a witness in this case."

During the investigation into the incident, prosecutors say, Diallo presented three different versions of the alleged assault and lied under oath.  Her credibility "cannot withstand the most basic evaluation," prosecutors said in the motion.

"If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so," Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said.

Obus is not expected to rule on the dismissal request until Tuesday, when Strauss-Kahn is scheduled to appear in court, possibly for the last time related to these charges.

Diallo's attorney says his client is "devastated" by the decision to abandon the criminal case.

Kenneth Thompson said he still believes there is sufficient physical evidence to overcome any doubts prosecutors have about the hotel maid's credibility.  He told ABC News that Monday's meeting involving three prosecutors from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Thompson and Diallo "was hostile."

"Joan Illuzzi basically told Ms. Diallo that they were dismissing the case, claiming because she lied to them," Thompson said.  "They totally disrespected Ms. Diallo by walking out on her while she was trying to ask them a question."

The district attorney's office by practice does not comment on meetings between lawyers.

Strauss-Kahn had long maintained he was innocent of the charges.

"We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent," Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, William W. Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement.  "We also maintained that there were many reasons to believe that Mr. Strauss-Kahn's accuser was not credible.  Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his family are grateful that the District Attorney's office took our concerns seriously and concluded on its own that this case cannot proceed further.  We look forward to attending the hearing on Tuesday."

In what may have been a last-ditch attempt to change the anticipated outcome of the crumbling case, lawyers for Diallo had earlier filed a motion to disqualify Vance from the case.

"The Manhattan District Attorney has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case.  He has not only turned his back on this innocent victim but he has also turned his back on the forensic, medical and other physical evidence in this case," Thompson said in a statement Monday afternoon.

In the filing to disqualify Vance, Thompson said Vance "has sabotaged defendant Strauss-Kahn's prosecution."  He said Vance's handling of the case "has been inadequate and troubling."

Thompson accused Vance's office of treating his client "abusively."  He said the office failed to refute a New York Post article that called Diallo a hooker.

Thompson also claimed the DA's office was predisposed to dismissing a case it once called "strong."  He says an assistant district attorney told Diallo's counsel, "No one with half a brain would ever put her on the stand."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug222011

Strauss-Kahn Case May Take Dramatic Turn

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office are seeking to dismiss the charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ABC News has learned.

(NEW YORK) -- The highly publicized prosecution of former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn may take a dramatic turn, and possibly end altogether, Monday.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office has summoned the hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape, Nafissatou Diallo, to a meeting Monday afternoon. At that meeting prosecutors may reveal to her whether they intend to go forward with the case.

"While we remain hopeful that the District Attorney will decide to continue with the prosecution of Mr. Strauss-Kahn given the mountain of physical evidence demonstrating that he sexually assaulted Ms. Diallo on May 14, we are not confident that he will do so," said Douglas Wigdor, one of Diallo's attorneys.

Wigdor and his partner Kenneth Thompson are seeking to disqualify Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance from the case. They say they believe he is no longer impartial and they're seeking to move the case to another prosecutor's office. This kind of motion is rarely granted.

There was no immediate comment from the district attorney's spokeswoman.

Prosecutors have come to doubt the case, which once appeared strong, because of what they call "substantial credibility issues" related to Diallo's background and conduct.

Questions have arisen surrounding what happened immediately after the alleged attack and have led the Manhattan District Attorney's office to consider whether to drop the charges amid concerns about Diallo's credibility.

Diallo said she was in the hall when Strauss-Kahn left the suite, but hotel records show she briefly went into another room, and then re-entered Strauss-Kahn's suite.

Diallo has also admitted to lying on her tax returns and lying about the details of a rape in her home country of Guinea that helped her to achieve asylum in the United States -- but she says that it is irrelevant to what she says happened in Strauss-Kahn's hotel suite.

Strauss-Kahn has denied all charges. His attorneys have suggested the encounter in the Sofitel Hotel suite May 14 was consensual. His attorneys have portrayed Diallo as a woman out for money.

If charges against Strauss-Kahn are dismissed, as his attorneys have said they must be, a dramatic prosecution would end without answering the question of what really happened between one of the world's most powerful men and an immigrant maid inside the hotel suite.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug212011

Strauss-Kahn Accuser Nafissatou Diallo to Meet With Prosecutors

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York City prosecutors are scheduled to meet Monday with the hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape.

The meeting will occur one day before a scheduled court appearance fir Strauss-Kahn, at which prosecutors could announce whether they will go forward with criminal charges.

The accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, will attend the meeting Monday, according to her attorneys Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor, who say they believe Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance intends to drop all or part of the sexual assault case.

"While we remain hopeful that the District Attorney will decide to continue with the prosecution of Mr. Strauss-Kahn given the mountain of physical evidence demonstrating that he sexually assaulted Ms. Diallo on May 14, we are not confident that he will do so," Wingdor said.

Vance's spokeswoman has declined to comment.

Initially prosecutors said they believed Diallo's encounter with the former chief of the International Monetary Fund "strongly suggested something other than a consensual act."

But for the last several weeks they have been reassessing the "strength of the case," which they say has been affected by "substantial credibility issues" related to Diallo's background, personal information and conduct immediately after the encounter inside the Sofitel Hotel.

"The fact this case has been drenched in publicity could have affected its course," said Royal Oakes, an attorney in Los Angeles who is not involved in the case. "It's very possible that the accuser felt she had to fight back against all the accusations against her by filing a lawsuit for damages and yet ironically that step might have convinced prosecutors that her credibility is vulnerable."

Diallo has filed a civil lawsuit seeking damages of an unspecified amount for "severe mental anguish and emotional distress" she said she suffered at the hands of Strauss-Kahn.

The lawsuit opened the door to attacks by Strauss-Kahn's attorneys that Diallo is seeking financial gain.

Strauss-Kahn has denied all charges.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul292011

Maid in Dominique Strauss-Kahn Case Holds Press Conference

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Nafissatou Diallo continued her recent campaign Thursday to defend her honor against allegations that she was lying about being sexually assaulted by former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Since Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn of forcing her to perform oral sex last May in the luxury New York hotel where she worked as a maid, the 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea has faced allegations that she was trying to shake down her alleged attacker for money, and that she's led a shady past that included being a prostitute.

Prosecutors in the case, who re-interviewed Diallo extensively earlier this week, have also cast doubts about her story, leading Strauss-Kahn to be freed from house arrest while he awaits trial.

After giving interviews to ABC News and Newsweek magazine to dispel notions she was making the story up, Diallo appeared at a news conference Thursday with community and religious leaders to issue a short statement that suggested she had unfairly become the perpetrator rather than a victim.

Among other things, Diallo said, "I hear a lot of bad things that they're calling me.  That's why I have to be here and let people know that a lot of things they say about me is not true."

The maid also said that she's been through a lot and that she cries every day.

Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn's next court date is scheduled for August 23.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul252011

Exclusive: Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Accuser Speaks Out

In an exclusive interview ABC News' Robin Roberts speaks with the hotel employee who alleges she was sexually assaulted by former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. (ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- The hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to sexually assault her in a New York City hotel room is ending her public silence in an exclusive broadcast interview with ABC News.

"I want justice. I want him to go to jail," Nafissatou Diallo told ABC's Robin Roberts. "I want him to know that there is some places you cannot use your money, you cannot use your power when you do something like this."

Strauss-Kahn may not go to jail. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is considering whether to drop the charges amid "concerns" he has said he has about Diallo's credibility.

Diallo was asked about the instances that caused prosecutors to "reassess the strength of the case." Diallo acknowledged "mistakes," but also said they should not preclude Vance's office from going forward.

"God is my witness I'm telling the truth. From my heart. God Knows that. And he knows that," she said.

The woman whose accusations upended the politics of France and the workings of one of the world's most prominent banking institutions was unequivocal in her assertion that Strauss-Kahn attacked her inside room 2806 at the Sofitel Hotel.

"I never want to be in public but I have no choice," Diallo told ABC News, adding "Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth."

She reenacted moments of the alleged assault, at one point kneeling on the floor to describe how she says Strauss-Kahn tried to force her to commit a sex act.

"I turned my head, he comes to me, and grab my breasts," she said. "I said, 'Stop! Stop! I don't want to lose my job.'"

Diallo said she did not know who Strauss-Kahn was prior to the encounter May 14. Once she learned his identity she said she thought she would be killed.

"And then they say he's going to be the next president of France. And I say, oh my God! And I was crying. I said, 'they're gonna kill me.'"

Until now Diallo's identity had been protected. She said she is coming forward now to defend her story and her reputation, which has been besmirched by tabloid headlines calling her a prostitute.

"I'm not," Diallo said.

Defense attorneys for Strauss-Kahn categorically deny any criminal wrongdoing occurred. They have suggested what happened inside the hotel suite was consensual and, in a statement, they called Diallo's interview an "unseemly circus."

"Its obvious purpose is to inflame public opinion against a defendant in a pending criminal case," William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman wrote in a statement.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment on the interview.

"This is a pending criminal case," DA spokeswoman Erin Duggan said. "To protect the integrity of the criminal justice system, the rights of the victim, and the rights of the accused, we will not discuss the facts or evidence in what remains an ongoing investigation."

The interview took place in the Manhattan office of Diallo's attorney, Kenneth Thompson. He told ABC News he plans to file a civil lawsuit against Strauss-Kahn on his client's behalf within days.

"There's no mystery. There's no hiding the fact. This man attempted to rape her," Thompson said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul102011

Christine Lagarde 'Can't Imagine' United States Would Default on Debt

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As the White House continues negotiations with congressional leaders over a budget deal this weekend, newly elected head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde says that she "can't imagine for a second" that the United States would default on its debt obligations, saying it would be "a real shock" to the global economy if no agreement is reached.

"I can't imagine for a second that the United States would default," Lagarde told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview. "But, clearly, this issue of the debt ceiling has to be resolved."

"It would be a real shock, and it would be bad news for the U.S. economy," Lagarde added on the threat of the U.S. not raising the debt ceiling. "So I would hope that there is enough bipartisan intelligence and understanding of the challenge that is ahead of the United States, but also of the rest of the world."

Lagarde, who previously served as France's finance minister, said there could be "real nasty consequences," including rising interest rates, depressed stock markets, increased unemployment, and decreased investment if a deal is not reached by the Aug. 2 deadline facing the United States.

"It would certainly jeopardize the stability, but not just the stability of the U.S. economy, it would jeopardize the stability at large," Lagarde said. "And that's clearly against the purpose and the mission of the International Monetary Fund. So we are concerned and we are very much hoping that a compromise will be found before the deadline."

Lagarde is the first woman to serve as managing director of the IMF, taking over the position last week following the resignation in May of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is currently battling charges that he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid. That case is now in question because of doubts about the accuser's credibility.

The IMF is still reeling from the drama surrounding Strauss-Kahn, who Lagarde said did "an excellent job" as managing director during his tenure.

"When an institution loses its managing director under such circumstances, there is clearly wounds as a result," Lagarde said. "Some people are very hurt. Other people feel betrayed. It's a very strange chemistry of frustration, irritation, sometimes anger, sometimes very deep sadness as well."

Because of the fallout from the Strauss-Kahn case, Lagarde's contract at the IMF includes specific language about ethical behavior, saying, "You shall strive to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in your conduct."

"In the back of my mind, when it comes to ethics and whatever I do, I always think to myself, would my mother approve of that?" Lagarde said. "And if she did not, then there's something wrong. It's a basic, stupid principle, maybe, to have. But it's something quite handy and quite efficient."

Regardless of the verdict in the Strauss-Kahn case, Lagarde said she believes it may have helped open a debate among women in France to speak out against harassment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Wednesday
Jul062011

Strauss-Kahn Lawyers Have 'Constructive' Meeting With Prosecutors

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lawyers for former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said Wednesday they had a "constructive" meeting with prosecutors in their effort to have the sexual assault charges against him dropped.

Prosecutors reportedly want Strauss-Kahn to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

"The investigative process is continuing, and no decisions have been made," a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said, according to ABC News New York affiliate WABC-TV.

Strauss-Kahn has been charged with trying to rape a housekeeper and forcing her to perform oral sex in a New York City hotel in May. The next scheduled court appearance is July 18.

"There is ample evidence to suggest that this case is going nowhere and going nowhere fast," criminal lawyer Robin Sax said. "But I think because public perception is so essential here, we will see the district attorney's office at least close this case properly and make sure that they have a complete packet before they do the official dump."

The prosecutor's office said last week that questions about the victim's credibility had crippled the Manhattan district attorney's case, which resulted in his being released from house arrest.

Prosecutors outlined her lies and inconsistencies about the case in a three-page letter. It included details of a recorded call from the hotel maid to her boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona, where she told him, "Don't worry. This guy has a lot of money. I know what I am doing."

In addition to cheating on her taxes and lying about her income, the hotel maid also falsely claimed on her application for political asylum to the United States that she'd been gang raped in her native country of Guinea. But even after she admitted to altering her account of what happened after the encounter with Strauss-Kahn, prosecutors maintained there was still evidence to suggest a sexual assault had taken place.

But Sax, a former prosecutor with no connection to this case, is not convinced that the case is strong enough to proceed to trial. "A prosecutor has an obligation to bring charges only when they can believe that they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Sax said. "And at the end of the day, if you can't believe your witness, you don't have a case."

Strauss-Kahn's defense team indicated last week that unless prosecutors presented strong evidence, the former frontrunner to become the next president of France would not be willing to plead guilty to any crime.

If that is true, the district attorney's only options would be to drop the charges or take it to trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul062011

Maid in Strauss-Kahn Case Sues over Prostitute Allegations

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The hotel chambermaid at the center of the case involving sexual assault charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) has sued The New York Post for calling her a prostitute.

The 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea contends the newspaper is guilty of libel for recently publishing stories and headlines that screamed, "DSK Maid a Hooker," "DSK ‘Refused to Pay’ Hooker Maid for Sex" and "She Saw Johns While in DA Protection!"

The maid claims the newspaper knew the information was false and printed it anyway, adding, "In an apparent desperate attempt to bolster its rapidly plunging sales, Defendant New York Post ran a series of defamatory articles."

According to the lawsuit, the maid, who worked at Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan where she claimed Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her, accused the Post of subjecting her to "humiliation, shame, scorn, emotional injury, embarrassment, loss of standing in the community, loss of self-esteem, public disgrace, severe and extreme emotional distress and ridicule throughout the world."

Prosecutors are said to have found holes in the alleged victim's accusations against Strauss-Kahn, who was freed from house arrest last week and could soon have all the charges against him dropped.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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