Aug. 23, 2011 -- It's over. A judge in New York today threw out the sexual assault case brought against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief and French presidential hopeful.
The ruling came shortly after the judge rejected a plea by Strauss-Kahn's accuser, hotel maid Naifissatou Diallo, to have the Manhattan district attorney's office replaced by a special prosecutor.
New York Criminal Court Judge Michael Obus granted a motion from prosecutors to dismiss all charges against the international power broker known simply as DSK, ending a highly publicized prosecution without answering the question of what really happened between Strauss-Kahn and the maid assigned to clean his hotel suite.
"I see no basis to deny that application" to dismiss the charges, Obus said. An appellate court upheld the decision later Tuesday.
Defense attorneys said Strauss-Kahn would not return today to France but to his townhouse in New York.
As the decision was announced, Strauss-Kahn, seated with his lawyers Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor, may have been able to faintly hear the shouts of protesters through the open court windows. Following the ruling, Strauss-Kahn walked out of court without answering questions from reporters, but later made a statement in French outside his Manhattan apartment.
"These past two and a half months have been a nightmare for me and my family," he said. "I am most deeply grateful to my wife and family who have gone through this ordeal with me."
The DSK Investigation
In a similar statement handed out by his lawyers, he added, "We will have nothing further to say about this matter and we look forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life."
What was once viewed as a "strong" case based on an "unwavering" accuser fell apart amid "substantial" questions about the maid's credibility.
Assistant District Attorneys Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Artie McConnell said the accuser "provided shifting and inconsistent versions of the events" and therefore they can't be sure "of what actually happened"
"We were no longer able to credit her version beyond a reasonable doubt" Illuzzi-Orbon said in court.
"We respectfully request that the court dismiss the indictment," she said.
During the investigation into the incident, prosecutors say, Diallo presented three different versions of the alleged assault and lied under oath. Her credibility "cannot withstand the most basic evaluation," prosecutors said in the motion.
Thompson told ABC News that a meeting Monday involving three prosecutors from the office of Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance "was hostile."
"Joan Illuzzi basically told Ms. Diallo that they were dismissing the case, claiming because she lied to them," Thompson said. "They totally disrespected Ms. Diallo by walking out on her while she was trying to ask them a question."
The district attorney's office by practice does not comment on meetings between lawyers.
Strauss-Kahn had long maintained he was innocent of the charges.
"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."
In what may have been a last-ditch attempt to change the anticipated outcome of the crumbling case, lawyers for Diallo had earlier filed a motion to disqualify Vance from the case.
"The Manhattan District Attorney has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case. He has not only turned his back on this innocent victim but he has also turned his back on the forensic, medical and other physical evidence in this case," Thompson said in a statement this afternoon.
In the filing to disqualify Vance, Thompson said Vance "has sabotaged Defendant Strauss-Kahn's prosecution."
He said Vance's handling of the case "has been inadequate and troubling."
Thompson accused Vance's office of treating his client "abusively." He said the office failed to refute a New York Post article that called Diallo a hooker.
Thompson also claimed the DA's office was predisposed to dismissing a case it once called "strong." He says an assistant district attorney told Diallo's counsel, "No one with half a brain would ever put her on the stand."