MANHATTAN – A judge agreed Tuesday to dismiss the sexual-assualt case against former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and a major earthquake that rocked the East Coast shortly afterward caused panic in a press conference held by prosecutors.
In a recommendation for dismissal filed Monday, prosecutors said the hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault is not a credible witness because of the inconsistencies in her account.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. held a small press conference immediately following the hearing, but the conference quickly disbanded as a 5.6 earthquake interrupted opening remarks.
The earthquake centered in Virginia, sending shocks up and down the coast. It was the first major earthquake to hit New York since a 5.3-magnitude tremor in 1884 that happened at sea in between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook.
The District Attorney’s Office sent a press release with Vance’s remarks.
“In dismissing the case today, we believe – and I believe – this is the right decision; and the one that best serves the true administration of justice,” Vance said.
To prove that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted Nafissatou Diallo, prosecutors had to prove that he “engaged in a sexual act … using forcible compulsion and without her consent.”
Prosecutors say an “extensive investigation” showed that Strauss-Kahn “engaged in a hurried sexual encounter with the complainant, but it does not independently establish her claim of a forcible, nonconsensual encounter.”
Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody on May 14 and arraigned two days later. He pleaded not guilty to a grand jury indictment on June 6, and his attorney served the prosecutors with a demand for discovery.