Prosecutors will drop sexual assault charges against ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn at his next court appearance in two weeks, or earlier, because of doubts about the credibility of the alleged victim, the New York Post said Tuesday.
The newspaper quoted an unnamed top investigator in the case who said the eventual dismissal of charges "a certainty."
"We all know this case is not sustainable," The New York Post quoted its source as saying.
"Her credibility is so bad now, we know we cannot sustain a case with her," the source told the newspaper, referring to the Guinean hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in a luxury hotel in Manhattan.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested on May 14 at New York's JFK airport and subsequently resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
But revelations that the accuser had lied about being raped in Guinea in a U.S. asylum request and changed details of her story about what she did after the incident in Strauss-Kahn's hotel suite have undermined her credibility and left prosecutors struggling to make a case.
A judge released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest and lifted strict bail conditions Friday, although serious charges including sexual assault and attempted rape remain in place against the man once seen a top French presidential contender.
"She is not to be believed in anything that comes out of her mouth -- which is a shame, because now we may never know what happened in that hotel room," said the source quoted by The New York Post.
The newspaper said its source was at the center of the investigation and spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
Strauss-Kahn faces hurdle at home as U.S. woes ease
A complaint of assault against Strauss-Kahn in France could pose a further hurdle to any political comeback.
The New York Post cited an unnamed senior investigator as saying prosecutors would drop their charges at a court hearing in two weeks, or even earlier, due to doubts about the credibility of the alleged victim.
However, a legal complaint by French writer Tristane Banon, who alleges Strauss-Kahn tried to assault her in Paris in 2003, was to be filed later on Tuesday, her lawyer told Reuters.
Signs that the U.S. charges are unraveling have set off a round of political sparring that threatens to poison the run-up to an April 2012 presidential election that Strauss-Kahn had been tipped to win for the left until his arrest in May for allegedly trying to rape a New York hotel maid.
French left-wingers, furious their star candidate has been all but knocked out of the election race, dismissed the Banon case as more evidence that Strauss-Kahn's foes are determined to bring him down.
"Strauss-Kahn's destiny has been snatched from him. All his friends are asking how it is possible that a man who is director of the IMF and a presidential candidate finds himself in prison a few days before he submits his candidacy," said Socialist deputy Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, a close ally of Strauss-Kahn.
"This is clearly a conspiracy against the Socialist Party," he told LCI television.
Asked about Banon's allegation, which she first voiced in a 2007 television show with Strauss-Kahn's name bleeped out, Cambadelis said: "This is manipulation by a young woman who wants to extort funds from Dominique through a rape complaint."
Banon's lawyer David Koubbi defended his client, and the timing of her action. He told French M6 television that talk of a plot against Strauss-Kahn was "nonsense."
STRAUSS-KAHN'S FUTURE UNCLEAR
The Banon case may fizzle out after a preliminary inquiry, due to lack of evidence. But opinion polls since the weekend suggest that more than half of French voters think Strauss-Kahn's political career is already over.
Francois Hollande, the left's new election frontrunner, was dragged into the imbroglio on Tuesday, when he was asked during a trip to the French Caribbean island of Martinique to respond to Banon's allegation that he had known about the 2003 incident and encouraged her at the time to press charges.
"I really want to put a stop to this controversy, rumors and gossip," Hollande told reporters in Fort-de-France. "This is all becoming quite unbearable."
A judge released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest on Friday, although charges of attempted rape remained in place, after prosecutors said the hotel maid changed details of her story.
"We all know this case is not sustainable," The New York Post quoted its source as saying on Tuesday.