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A taste of freedom as strauss-kahn enjoys dinner out after bail relaxed

A smiling Dominique Strauss-Kahn left his temporary home in New York for the first time since his house arrest was revoked -- and went out to an upmarket restaurant.

The former IMF chief left his New York City townhouse with his wife Anne Sinclair 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 (62) wearing a jacket but no tie, emerged smiling from his home, accompanied by his wife and security guards.

He still faces charges but questions about the accuser's credibility appear to be shifting the case in his favour.


He had been confined to house arrest and monitored electronically until the judge reduced his bail conditions.

The charges against him stand -- for now, at least. But weeks after saying it had a strong case that was only getting stronger, the district attorney's office was on the defensive.

So was the housekeeper's lawyer, who continued to insist that Strauss-Kahn had violently abused the woman.

An attorney for Strauss-Kahn, meanwhile, called the turn of events "a great relief".

Another hearing is set for July 18. Strauss-Kahn did not get his passport back and will not yet be allowed to leave the country, but he will be free to travel within the US, his lawyers said.

His arrest on attempted rape charges that forced his resignation as head of the IMF and appeared to destroy any hope he had of running for president of France next year.

According to prosecutors, the woman admitted she lied to a grand jury about what she did immediately after the alleged attack. She actually went on cleaning rooms instead of reporting the episode right away, prosecutors told the defence in a letter.

She is also alleged to have told prosecutors a story of having been gang-raped in her native Guinea, later admitting it was among various false accounts of oppression that she had been told to memorise to enhance her 2004 application for political asylum.