A judge has dropped the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn pending an appeal.
The case has not been fully dismissed because Justice Michael Obus said the accuser was still hoping to get a special prosecutor appointed.
If that appeal is denied – likely to be determined later today – then the criminal case against the former IMF chief will be ended and he will be free to return to France.
Justice Obus said he could see no reason for the charges not to be dropped, after prosecutors expressed concern about going ahead with it due to questions over the maid's credibility.
Mr Strauss-Kahn still faces a civic case brought by the maid, who accused him of assault at a Sofitel hotel in May, and another lawsuit by French journalist Tristane Banon.
Mr Strauss-Kahn said the case had been "a nightmare for me and my family".
"I want to thank all the friends in France and in the United States who have believed in my innocence, and to the thousands of people who sent us their support personally and in writing," he said.
"We look forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life."