Just moments ago, New York prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss sexual assault charges against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a stunning reversal that could revive the political future of a man many had seen as the next president of France.
Prosecutors gave up hope they could convict Strauss-Kahn after losing faith in their star witness, a 32-year-old hotel maid from Guinea who alleged that Strauss-Kahn emerged naked from the bathroom of his luxury suite on May 14 and forced her to perform oral sex.
A judge has not yet decided whether to drop the charges. Strauss-Kahn is expected back in court tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, had vehemently declared his innocence. Some political supporters were convinced the allegations were part of a set-up meant to destroy his chances of unseating French President Nicolas Sarkozy in next April's election.
Though he is free to return to French politics, his image was damaged and the Socialist party would have to make an exception to allow him into the presidential race at this late date. A poll released in July showed two-thirds of French people do not want him to be a candidate.
He also still faces a civil lawsuit the maid filed against him on August 8 and a complaint from a French writer who said he tried to rape her during a 2003 interview.
After detectives pulled him off the first-class section of a Paris-bound jet, his arrest sent shockwaves across the globe.
Meanwhile, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been forced to eat his words. After portraying the accuser as a traumatized victim who offered a consistent and credible story about being attacked, Vance was forced to backtrack and ultimately surrender, an embarrassing setback sure to be an issue when he is up for re-election in 2013.