DSK Criminal Charges Officially Dismissed

What may be Strauss-Kahn's final criminal hearing gets underway with a blow to Diallo's camp

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Update (5 p.m. EDT): His press conference interrupted by geological forces, Vance had to cut his remarks short. But he emailed out a copy later. In them, he addressed concerns that the dismissal of the case would have a "chilling effect" on victims of sexual assault who may be reluctant to come forward.

Update (2:45 p.m. EDT): The earthquake that hit the East Coast interrupted Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance during a press conference on Strauss-Kahn. Reuters has video:

Update (1:19 p.m. EDT): A judge has denied Diallo's appeal of the motion to assign a new prosecutor to the Strauss-Kahn case. That means the criminal prosecution against him is completely finished. He still faces a civil suit, but he's now free to return to France or to Washington, D.C., where he lived while directing the International Monetary Fund. A source with knowledge of Strauss-Kahn's Manhattan living situation said he hadn't given any indication of immediate plans to move out. Strauss-Kahn hasn't sat for any interviews, but he did offer a statement saying he was "gratified that the District Attorney agreed with my lawyers that this case had to be dismissed." The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is due to hold a press conference to speak about the case at 1:30 p.m.

Update (12:38 p.m. EDT): According to a tweet by the Telegraph's Jon Swaine, an appellate court has agreed to hear Diallo's lawyer's challenge to a judge's denial of his request for a new prosecutor later today. If that appeal is upheld, it could mean a new prosecution in the Strauss-Kahn case, but it's unlikely.

Update (12:22 p.m. EDT): Comments from prosecutors and from Diallo's attorney are still expected, but Strauss-Kahn's lawyer has made a statement. From ABC News:

"We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent," Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, William W. Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement. "We also maintained that there were many reasons to believe that Mr. Strauss-Kahn's accuser was not credible. Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his family are grateful that the district attorney's office took our concerns seriously and concluded on its own that this case cannot proceed further."

Update (11:54 a.m. EDT): Judge Obus has just ordered the criminal charges dropped against Strauss-Kahn, reports Bloomberg TV and multiple reporters on Twitter. That means he'll be given his passport back and can fly back to France today, if he wants to. It's unlikely that's what he'll do, but you never know.

The last-ditch attempt by lawyers for Nafissatou Diallo to have some kind of criminal prosecution go forward in her case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been denied. According to reporters tweeting from the courtroom, Judge Michael Obus quickly ruled against the request. As The Telegraph's Jon Swaine tweets, "That means the last remaining obstacle (already an unlikely one) to charges against #DSK being dropped was just removed."

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