Quake plays spoilsport with Strauss-Kahn's plan to leave US | world | Hindustan Times
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Quake plays spoilsport with Strauss-Kahn's plan to leave US

world Updated: Aug 24, 2011 12:37 IST

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the city interfered with Dominique Strauss-Kahn's plans of an early return to France, with the former IMF chief forced to wait a day more to get his passport after government buildings were closed early in the quake's aftermath.

Hours after a US judge ordered the dismissal of all criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday, New York city felt tremours of the earthquake which had its epicentre near Virginia. The tremours lead to buildings like City Hall being evacuated and prompted early closure of courthouse offices.

This meant that Strauss-Kahn, who had expected to get his passport back from authorities after his hearing, would now have to wait one more day to get his passport, which was confiscated by New York authorities after his arrest in May.

"Dominique will have his passport tomorrow morning. He would have had it today except for the earthquake which caused the evacuation of the district attorney's office," his lawyer William Taylor said.

Taylor had earlier said his client would receive his passport soon after hearing.

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance's scheduled news conference to discuss the dismissal of charges was also disrupted due to the quake.

As Vance began his news conference, the court building began to shake from the earthquake. Reporters and others rushed out of the building and the event was canceled.

Vance later issued a statement of his remarks.

Strauss-Kahn had issued a statement after the hearing saying "we look forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life."

Justice Michael Obus of State Supreme Court in Manhattan granted the motion filed by prosecutors to dismiss the sexual assault charges against Strauss-Kahn after prosecutors said they cannot prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" the case as they doubted the credibility of Guinean maid Nafissatou Diallo, who offered "shifting" and "inconsistent" accounts of the May 14 incident.