Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn went out to an upscale restaurant on Friday night, leaving his New York City townhouse just hours after a judge released him from house arrest because of a teetering case against him.
He was driven to Scalinatella, a pricey Italian restaurant on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
It was his first taste of freedom since he was taken from a Paris-bound jetliner on May 14 and arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York.
Strauss-Kahn, wearing a jacket but no tie, emerged smiling from his home, accompanied by his wife and two other people, as well as security guards who climbed into an awaiting sport utility vehicle. A sedan trailed Strauss-Kahn's vehicle and they drove off.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, still faces charges but questions about the accuser's credibility appear to be shifting the case in his favor.
He had been confined to house arrest, guarded by armed security agents and monitored electronically until the judge reduced his bail conditions earlier on Friday. Strauss-Kahn, whose $1 million bail and $5 million bond will now be returned, is free to travel anywhere in the United States, though authorities will keep his passport, pending possible trial.