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Hotel Video in Strauss-Kahn Case Resolves Little

Al Baker|The New York Times
IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Jewel Samad | AFP | Getty Images

The surveillance images show Dominique Strauss-Kahnstriding from an elevator at the Sofitel New York, standing at the front desk and crossing through the lobby to jump into a taxi.

The video also captures his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, walking with people whom her lawyers described on Thursday as hotel security agents. At one point, Ms. Diallo, dressed in her hotel uniform, seems subdued; at another, she can be seen pushing a security supervisor.

The surveillance footage also captures some curious images: two hotel workers appear to share a brief celebratory embrace and dance.

Dancing After DSK 911 Call

But in the end, the 13 minutes of footage did little to illuminate conclusively what happened in an encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn and Ms. Diallo in his suite that day.

She said that, after entering to clean up, he tried to rape her and forced her to perform oral sex. He said the encounter was consensual.

Manhattan prosecutors eventually asked a judge to dismiss all the chargesagainst Mr. Strauss-Kahn, after saying they had encountered problems with Ms. Diallo’s credibility. The judge dropped the charges, and Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who had resigned as chief of the International Monetary Fund, returned to France in September.

In a news conference on Thursday, Ms. Diallo’s lawyers, Kenneth P. Thompson and Douglas H. Wigdor, said the footage offered proof that Mr. Strauss-Kahn had fled the hotel in a hurry. The lawyers said they did not know who had “leaked” the footage, which was shown on French television, but said it backed Ms. Diallo’s claims. They said that when she pushed the security supervisor, she was re-enacting a part of the attack.

Ms. Diallo has filed a civil suit in the Bronx against Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer who has represented Mr. Strauss-Kahn, said that “if anything, the surveillance footage supports the firm conclusion that no crime was committed at all, something we have maintained from the very start of this investigation; any suggestion to the contrary is absurd.”

Lanny J. Davis, a lawyer for Accor, the hotel chain that owns the Sofitel in New York, said it was “utter nonsense” for anyone to suggest that the portion of video showing the two security workers in a celebratory embrace was evidence of a political conspiracy against Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

“I know that these two men had no idea, at the time of this video clip celebration, about the political status of Mr. Strauss-Kahn,” Mr. Davis said. “While they cannot remember the specific reason for why they were celebrating for about 10 seconds, they were in fact relieved that the housekeeper had just moments before decided to allow the hotel to call 911.”