NEW YORK – Investigators cut out a piece of carpet in a search of a penthouse suite for DNA evidence that could corroborate a hotel maid’s claim that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, tried to rape her, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

New York detectives and prosecutors believe the carpet may contain Strauss-Kahn’s semen, spat out after an episode of forced oral sex, the officials said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

In addition to examining the Sofitel Hotel suite for further potential DNA evidence, they were looking at the maid’s key card to determine whether she used it to enter the room, and how long she was there, officials said.

One of the officials said that the DNA testing was being “fast-tracked” but that the results could still be a few days away.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly declined to comment Wednesday on the details of the evidence-gathering but said results of any DNA and other testing have not yet come back. He said the detectives investigating the case found the maid’s story believable.

The complainant is a 32-year-old chambermaid from the West African nation of Guinea. Her lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro, dismissed suggestions from some of Strauss-Kahn’s defenders that she had made up the charges or tried to cover up a consensual encounter.