Strauss-Kahn accuser seeks new prosecutor

New York: The case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been thrown into further disarray as an all-out war has erupted between the district attorney`s office and the former IMF chief`s accuser.

Lawyers for the maid who says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in a Manhattan hotel room demanded a new prosecutor yesterday, accusing the New York district attorney`s office of damaging leaks and a potential conflict of interest.

A spokeswoman for District Attorney Cyrus Vance hit back in a statement emailed to AFP, calling the recusal request "wholly without merit."

The war between the alleged victim and those supposedly pursuing the case against Strauss-Kahn came days after the prosecution admitted in a dramatic court hearing that it had grave doubts about her credibility.

They said she had given false information on tax and asylum application forms, including about an alleged gang rape in Guinea. Perhaps even more damaging, she had lied in sworn testimony about the Strauss-Kahn case.

The maid initially told the grand jury, which decided back in May that the case could proceed, that she had left Strauss-Kahn`s room after the alleged May 14 sexual assault and waited in a hallway until he had gone.

Prosecutors revealed on Friday that she later recanted that version of events, saying she went on to clean another room and returned to Strauss-Kahn`s room to clean it before telling a supervisor about the alleged incident.

In the latest twist to the stunning case, the maid`s lawyer Kenneth Thompson sent a letter yesterday to Vance requesting he immediately recuse himself from the case and allow the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Most of Thompson`s four-page letter detailed alleged leaks from Vance`s office, in particular regarding a New York Times story about a conversation the maid had with a jailed felon that was being secretly recorded.

0He wrote that chief assistant district attorney Daniel Alonso called him on June 30 and stated that during the conversation the maid had said "words to the effect" that "this guy has a lot of money. I know what I`m doing."

The New York Times then reported the details of the maid`s phone conversation the following day using almost exactly the same words Alonso had used, he said.

Among "several other orchestrated leaks and false accounts," Thompson said he was truly saddened that a "senior prosecutor" had refused to deny a New York Post tabloid story accusing the maid of being a "prostitute".