Aug. 23 - Dominique Strauss-Kahn says he's eager to return to France after a New York judge dismissed all criminal sexual assault charges against him. Deborah Gembara reports.
A throng of media were waiting for Dominique Strauss Kahn's first comments after a New York Judge dismissed all criminal sexual assault charges against him. Soundbite: Former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn saying (French): "Thanks to my family and supporters who stood by me during the ordeal. I look forward to returning to my country but I have a few small matters to take care of first. I will discuss this at greater length (later)." In court, prosecutors said that while evidence proved the former IMF Chief had a hurried, sexual encounter with hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo --- her credibility made proving sexual assault nearly impossible. SOUNDBITE: Prosecutor saying: "During the course of our investigation in this case, the complainant was untruthful with us in virtually ever substanative interview despite our frequent and repeated urging to simply be truthful." Following the judge's announcement to dismiss, a clearly relieved Strauss-Kahn smiled as he shook hands with several people. Outside the court, Strauss-Kahn's attorney Benjamin Brafman praised the prosecutor's reccomendation as "courageous." He also described the stress his client has been under. SOUNDBITE: Benjamin Brafman, Dominique Strauss-Kahn's attorney saying: "Unless you have been falsely accused of a very serious crime that you did not commit, it is impossible for you to understand the grasp, the full measure of relief that Dominique Strauss-Kahn feels today. This is a horrific nightmare that he and his family have lived through. To be candid, both Dominique and Anne Sinclair have maintained their dignity throughout these difficult days." He acknowledged that his client isn't a saint. SOUNDBITE: Benjamin Brafman, Dominique Strauss-Kahn's attorney saying: "You can engage in inappropriate behavior perhaps, but that is much different than a crime and this case was treated as a crime when it was not. And finally I'd like to say this -- I'd like to say it publicly and I say it proudly. Today is an extraordinary day and it's an extraordinary event to have a District Attorney stand up in a public court-room and dismiss an indictment concluding that the complaining witness is not worthy of belief." Three months ago, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was the world's leading financial diplomat and a contender to be France's next president. While he has been cleared of criminal charges, he still faces a civil lawsuit from Diallo and an inquiry in France from a reporter who claims the former IMF chief attacked her. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.