11:45 a.m. ET | After a court hearing in New York, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest, although his travel documents are still being held and the case against him has not been dismissed, with the next hearing scheduled for July 18. The $1 billion bail he posted was returned.
Originally posted 9:45 a.m. ET |The legal case against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears to be in doubt after prosecutors in New York raised questions about the credibility of his accuser, paving the way for a possible reduction in his bail. Depending on the outcome of a court hearing, Strauss-Kahn could be released from house arrest on Friday. If released, he would only be allowed to travel within the United States.
According to the New York Times, prosecutors have had a difficult time verifying details in the story of the accuser, a hotel housekeeper who has accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault:
Although forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a French politician, and the woman, prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself.
Since her initial allegation on May 14, the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the law enforcement officials said.
The doubts involve her application for asylum and possible connections to drug dealers. The accuser, a 32-year-old woman from Guinea, also reportedly spoke with someone in jail about pursuing her accusations against Strauss-Kahn in a way that could be beneficial.
The newly revealed information has stoked anger in France, where many perceived his initial arrest and treatment in New York negatively and felt his reputation was ruined before being convicted of a crime.
Justice Department Opens Detainee Death Investigation
Prosecutors at the Justice Department have launched an investigation into the deaths of two detainees in 2002 and 2003 who were in the custody of the CIA, according to a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder. One of the detainees died in Iraq’s infamous Abu Ghraib prison.
The case invokes the wider debate over harsh interrogation tactics used on detainees and whether or not CIA operatives would be prosecuted in connection with them. After 9/11, the CIA opened secret prison sites that used “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Those sites have since been shuttered, but human rights groups have expressed disappointment that there has not been a more aggressive inquiry into criminal actions during that period.
Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union, quoted in the Washington Post, said the investigation, while welcome, fell short of the scope needed to address the issue.
“For a period of several years, and with the approval of the Bush administration’s most senior officials, the CIA operated an interrogation program that subjected prisoners to unimaginable cruelty and violated both international and domestic law. The narrow investigation that Attorney General Holder announced today is not proportionate to the scale and scope of the wrongdoing,” Jaffer said.
Reports suggest the detainees were Gul Rahman, who is believed to have frozen to death in his cell in Afghanistan, and Manadel al-Jamadi, who died at Abu Ghraib.
Minnesota Government Shuts Down Over Budget Stalemate
Minnesota’s government is functioning on a bare-minimal basis after a budget impasse forced the closure of state parks, highway rest stops, some social services and road construction efforts, and the layoffs of thousands of state workers.
(View a slideshow from Minnesota Public Radio on the Eve of the Shutdown**
The state faces a $3.6 billion dollar shortfall, and lawmakers have been at odds over whether to resolve it through spending cuts or tax increases. Gov. Mark Dayton, who called the shutdown “a day of great sorrow,” spent hours locked in negotiations with lawmakers in an effort to avert the crisis. The Minnesota government partially shut down in 2005.
Chavez Reveals He Had Cancerous Tumor Removed
In a videotaped message aired on state television Thursday night, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the country he had a cancerous growth surgically removed by doctors in Cuba.
The usually verbose Chavez’s extended visit to Cuba and subsequent silence led to speculation in Venezuela about his health and whether or not the opposition would take the opportunity to try to draw support ahead of elections next year.
Prince William, Kate Celebrate Canada Day in First Official Foreign Visit
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are in Canada for their first official foreign trip since their April wedding, helping mark Canada Day with a wreath-laying and barbecue in Ottawa. They will also attend a cooking demonstration and rodeo during their nine-day trip. Prince William will also participate in coast guard exercises. The Canadian government is funding the trip. An estimated 1,400 members of the media are covering their movements.
Said Prince William: “Catherine and I are so delighted to be here in Canada. Instilled in us by our parents and grandparents, we love this country. We have been looking forward to this moment for a very long time.”
William and Catherine will also spend three days in California before returning home.