The criminal case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief who was accused of sexually assaulting a maid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan six weeks ago, continued to unravel Saturday amid deepening questions about the credibility of his accuser.
After the alleged attack, the woman spoke by phone with her boyfriend, a criminal defendant in a drug case in Arizona, and alluded to the fact that Strauss-Kahn was wealthy, according to news reports.
The New York Times, which first reported the recorded conversation, quoted a law enforcement official as saying: "She says words to the effect of, 'Don't worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I'm doing.' "
The revelation followed what prosecutors said were their discoveries that the 32-year-old hotel worker, who is originally from Guinea, lied in her asylum application and made multiple other false statements, including about the sequence of events on the day of the alleged assault.
Because of doubts about the ability of the district attorney to rely on the woman's testimony, a judge released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest Friday.
Initially denied bail, Strauss-Kahn, 62, was held in Rikers Island for several days after his arrest May 14 before he posted a $6 million bail and bond. He was placed under house arrest, at a $50,000-a-month rented townhouse in Manhattan's TriBeCa neighborhood.
The townhouse was besieged by reporters Saturday, but Strauss-Kahn did not comment when he left with his wife or when they returned later in the day.
There had been some speculation that the couple would travel to the home they own in Washington, but they appear to have decided, for now, to stay in New York City. Another court hearing is scheduled for July 18.
Authorities continue to hold Strauss-Kahn's French passport so he cannot leave the United States.
Prosecutors have not moved to have the charges dismissed, but legal experts said the case has been crippled.
The woman's attorney, however, has insisted that questions about his client's history, which were provided to the defense in a letter from prosecutors, were irrelevant to the charges of sexual assault.
"The victim here may have made some mistakes, but that doesn't mean she's not a rape victim," attorney Kenneth Thompson said.