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The New York Times, which had owned the story of IMF Head Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on rape charges and had been a favored venue of damaging leaks from police and prosecutors, reported a different kind of leak late Thursday night: the Manhattan District Attorney’s office now believes its case is falling apart because problems with the credibility of Strauss-Kahn’s accuser:

According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends.

In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application.

Today, the defense is expected to successfully win more lenient bail conditions for Strauss-Kahn. It’s a major blow for the prosecution — and lends a bit more credence to those French complaints that we vulgar Americans were rushing to judgment.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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