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Strauss-Kahn Setbacks May be Latest Blow for DA Cyrus Vance, Experts Say

By DNAinfo Staff on July 1, 2011 7:51pm  | Updated on July 2, 2011 3:05pm

By Shayna Jacobs

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Friday's setbacks in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case are seen by some as yet another high-profile blow to District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. after less than two years in office.

Recently, a pair of cops accused of rape in the East Village were acquitted as were two of the three construction supervisors in the Deutsche Bank case.

The attorney for Strauss-Kahn's accuser, Kenneth Thompson, said Friday that Vance, who took office in January 2010 after more than two decades of Robert Morgenthau at the helm, was "afraid" to pursue the sex crimes charges against the former IMF in light of this record.

"The DA is laying the foundation to dismiss this case. Anyone can see that," Thompson told hundreds of reporters after a hearing, at which Strauss-Kahn, accused of sexually assaulting a maid at a Midtown hotel in May, was released without bail.

Prosecutors called the credibility of the victim into question at the hearing in a stunning turn that left the future of the case up in the air.

Rick Pasacreta, a former Staten Island prosecutor who defended Deutsche Bank abatement supervisor Salvatore DePaola, said he believes the DA's office generally makes its decisions "for the right reasons," but said their calls on the Strauss-Kahn case could appear to reflect a fear of losing another high-profile case.

"Certainly I can understand how people could see it that way," Pasacreta said.'

Former Manhattan prosecutor, Matthew Galluzzo, who is now a defense attorney, said he believes Vance's office handled the situation well, given circumstances, from the start.

"If they had lost a guy to the extradition treaty between France and America that would have been terrible — they probably had to proceed as they did," said Galluzzo

Galluzzo was on the winning side of the controversial Angel Alvarez case, in which a Harlem man who survived more than 20 police gun shots last August was ultimately exonerated.

While prosecutors had to act swiftly initially, Galluzzo did not discount the idea that image concerns could be behind the DA's recent moves in the Strauss-Kahn case.

"I think they are more concerned with public perception perhaps than the prior administration — it just seems that way," Galluzzo said.

The DA's office declined to comment on Thompson's allegations. But in a statement to the press Friday, Vance defended their handling of the case.

"We believe we have done nothing but support her do do everything in our power to maintain her privacy," the DA said.

Strauss-Kahn is due back in court on July 18. It remains to be seen whether the DA will ultimately drop the case.