At 11:30 a.m. today, New York's most famous criminal defendant, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is due in court for a hearing on the terms of his bail on charges that he tried to rape a hotel housekeeper on May 14. It's been reported that he's to be released from house arrest on his own recognizance, but given the recent questions that have arisen over the prosecution's case against him, we might also be in for a surprise today, such as a request to have the case dismissed. We'll keep you up to the minute here, and if you happen on any information related to the hearing or the case, do let us know. (all times, by the way, are Eastern daylight)
Please Note: For key news details, please see Kenneth Thomas's comments at noon and 12:08 p.m., as well as Cyrus Vance's remarks at 12:43 p.m., and the excerpt from the prosecution's letter to the defense at 12:50 p.m.
12:50 p.m.: The letter to the defense includes a paragraph that says the accuser lied to investigators and the grand jury about her actions immediately after the alleged assault. She had said she fled the area, but later said she cleaned another room after Strauss-Kahn's:
12:43 p.m.: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance spoke to reporters in front of the courthouse. He took no questions after his short, prepared remarks:
Today’s proceedings did not dismiss the indictment or any of the charges against the defendant. Our investigators will continue their investigation into these alleged crimes and will do so until they have uncovered all the relevant facts… With regard to the treatment of this victim, we believe we have done nothing but support her and do everything ion our power to support her and keep her safe. And we will continue to do so… As prosecutors, our duty is to do what is right in every case, without fear or favor, wherever that leads. The disclosures we made that led to today’s proceedings adhered to that principle.
12:26 p.m.: The court has just posted the letter (PDF) from prosecutors to Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, with their details their charges that the accusing witness is not trustworthy. We'll bring excerpts as quickly as we can.
12:24 p.m.: Martinez tweets that "soon, the #DSK accuser is going to unmask herself, her lawyer says."
12:20 p.m.: New York Deputy Mayor Howie Wolfson tweets this photo of the press scrum at Franklin Street, where Strauss-Kahn has been on house arrest since the beginning of June:
12:08 p.m.: Thompson also called out the District Attorney's Office for its treatment of the case:
All of these statements that have been leaked by the DA, that she was involved in drugs and so forth, are a lie. We believe [Manhattan District Attorney] Cy Vance does not want to prosecute this case because he is afraid he will lose, like he lost the case against the two police officers accused of rape, like he lost the case against the Deutsche Bank employees in the fire near Ground Zero.
When I brought this information to their [the District Attorney’s office] attention, I let them meet with my client while I was away... I checked in with them on that second day and found something very disturbing. I checked with the victim and her 15-year-old daughter… the daughter told me they were mistreating her mother in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
When I got back to New York City I spoke with the victim and her daughter. Both told me with tears in their eyes that the prosecutors had screamed and yelled at her. The daughter was outside a door while they talked to her mother and all she could hear was the prosecutors screaming and yelling at her mother, until there was a break, when they left, to talk to me [on the phone]. I told them not to continue the interview…
What that daughter told me was that when the prosecutors walked back into the office, they screamed at her mother, "get out, get out, get out of here."
12:00 p.m. Kenneth Thompson, the attorney for the accusing witness, tells reporters for the first time his client's version of the events that occurred in the Sofitel Hotel (warning: includes graphic language):
The only defense Dominique Strauss Kahn has is that this sexual encounter was consensual. That’s a lie. Here are the facts:
First, when the victim walked into that suite, she did so for one reason, and that was to clean that suite. She was told no one was inside that room and she went in believing no one was inside that room. Then Strauss-Kahn came running out of one of those rooms naked towards her. He grabbed her breasts first and started to attack her. He then grabbed her vagina with so much force that he hurt her. With so much force that he bruised her vagina. When she went to the hospital that day, the nurses saw the bruises on her vagina that were caused by Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s hand…
The next thing that will prove the defense is a lie, is that when Dominique Strauss-Kahn threw her to the floor, he tore a ligament in her shoulder. That is a medical fact. She may now need surgery for her shoulder. She has been telling prosecutors from day one, my shoulder hurts… [says a doctor confirmed torn ligament]…
The third point is that Dominique Strauss-Kahn ripped her stockings. There are holes and rips in her stockings, and the DA knows that. After he finished, she got up and started to run for that door, and started spitting Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s semen out of her mouth. It’s DNA evidence. She spit his semen on the wall, she spit it on the floor, and guess what, as soon as her supervisor came to the floor, she saw that… Detectives from the NYPD, they saw that.
11:50: Strauss-Kahn's lawyers Ben Brafman and William Taylor addressed reporters outside the court, telling them Strauss-Kahn is free to travel, but not back to France.
I want to remind everybody that it was just six weeks ago that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was in Rikers Island and was charged in an indictment that had the full force fo the people behind it, and to remind all of you how easy it is for people to be charged with serious crimes and for there to be a rush to judgment. It’s so important for this country that people, especially the media, reserve their judgment on the facts of the case until they’re all in.
I want to commend Cy Vance for his courage and personal integrity to stand up and say ‘this case is not what we thought it was’… I want to remind all of you that at every appearance over the last six weeks not to rush to judgment and now I think you can understand why… We are already convinced that while today was a first giant step in the right direction, the next step will lead to a complete dismissal of all the charges.
11:40 a.m.: It's official. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been released on his own recognizance. Due back in court July 18
11:37 a.m.: Defense begins making its case. Martinez tweets, "Accusers has 'substantial credibility issues', prosecutor sez, but 'we are not moving to dismiss the case at this time.' " RFI reporter Karim Lebhour quotes the prosecutor: ""the strengh of the case has been affected but we are not moving away from the case"
11:35 a.m.: Legal analyst Tad Nelson tells Bloomberg Television that Strauss-Kahn's release today will be a "precursor to absolute dismissal." He says he will be "shocked" if the case lasts longer than a week.
11:34 a.m.: Strauss-Kahn enters the courtroom. Wearing, per Martinez, "sharp black suit, light blue tie, great head of white hair."
11:30 a.m.: Jon Swaine is funny: "Benjamin Brafman's magnificent grey bouffant is looking prouder than ever this morning." New York Daily News reporter Jose Martinez notes Brafman is smiling. "Oh yes, he is."
11:15 a.m.: The New York Times John Eligon reports that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is "noticeably absent" from the courtroom.
11:05 a.m.: The Telegraph's Jon Swaine tweets that the housekeeper's lawyers, Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Windor, are in the courtroom, "looking a bit winded."
10:57 a.m.: Strauss-Kahn arrives at court. The New York Times tweeted this photo: