Strauss-Kahn Free From House Arrest After Questions Raised Over Sex Assault Accuser's Credibility

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn walked out of court free on bail Friday after prosecutors said an extensive background investigation of the hotel housekeeper accusing him of sexual assault gave them pause.

Strauss-Kahn had been free on $6 million in cash and bond but under house arrest for weeks in a ritzy Manhattan loft. The charges, which include attempted rape, have not been reduced, but the move signals that prosecutors do not believe the accusations are as ironclad as they once seemed.

The 32-year-old hotel maid accused Strauss-Kahn of chasing her through his luxury suite in May, trying to pull down her pantyhose and forcing her to perform oral sex.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance told reporters after the hearing that the investigation into the alleged sex assault at the Sofitel Hotel "raised concerns about the complaining witness's credibility."

"It is a great relief," Strauss-Kahn attorney William Taylor said, adding that the case underscores "how easy it is for people to be charged with serious crimes and for there to be a rush to judgment."

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"It is so important in this country that people, especially the media, refrain from judgment until the facts are all in," he said.

But the accuser's attorney did not back down on the seriousness of the charges, telling reporters that Strauss-Khan's claim of consensual sex is a "lie."

"From Day One she has described a violent sexual assault that Dominique Strauss-Kahn committed against her," attorney Ken Thompson said.

"She has described that sexual assault many times, to prosecutors and to me, and she has never once changed a single thing about that encounter," he said. "The victim here may have made some mistakes, but that doesn't mean she's not a rape victim."

He also referred to media reports that his client was involved with a drug dealer, calling them lies.

"The DA may be on the verge of abandoning the victim, but we will not abandon her. We will stand with her," Thompson said.

Vance said his office is committed to the truth and will continue to investigate the alleged crimes rigorously.

"The vindication of the rights of sex crimes victims is among the highest priorities of this office," Vance told reporters. "We believe we have done everything to support her and maintain her privacy and keep her safe, and we will continue to do so."

Strauss-Kahn arrived at the courthouse Friday morning in a Lexus SUV and strode confidently up the granite steps with his wife, French journalist Anne Sinclair. He wore a dark gray suit, she a white jacket.

After the hearing, he walked slowly out of the courthouse with his arm on her shoulder, smiling slightly at the throng gathered outside.

His passport remained surrendered, and he will not yet be allowed to leave the country. His other attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said Strauss-Kahn would be free to travel within the United States.'s Jana Winter and the Associated Press contributed to this report.