Patterico's Pontifications

7/5/2011

The Case Against Dominique Strauss-Kahn Getting Weaker Still? (Update: U.S. Charges to be Dropped?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:39 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: The NY Post claims that the charges are about to be dropped.  It wouldn’t surprise me given what I wrote below.

Last Friday, I was presented with a dilemma.  As evidence came out undermining the claim that Dominique Strauss-Kahn (who is a man) raped that maid in New York City, there was one thing that seemed to support her.  Via Hot Air:

[The accuser’s lawyer, Ken] Thompson claimed that there is substantial forensic and medical evidence that will be revealed in court. He said that Strauss-Kahn ripped the woman’s pantyhose, tore a ligament in her shoulder and grabbed her so hard that he caused visible bruising on her vagina. The woman said that Strauss-Kahn forced her to perform oral sex, after which Thompson said she crawled away from Strauss-Kahn, and as she was fleeing, she spit his semen on the floor and wall of the hotel suite. Thompson claimed that all of the details had been documented by crime scene investigators and would be revealed in the trial.

If the forensic evidence is as damning as Thompson claims, speculation about the case’s demise might be premature.

The problem?  Well go to Hot Air and look for yourself at the link they use for that.  It’s from Time magazine, a rag that has lost all semblance of credibility in my mind, not the least of which because it made mistakes that could have been fact-checked simply by reading the Constitution.  So over the weekend I attempted writing to her lawyer for verification and generally to get the accuser’s side of things, but he hasn’t responded and even if he was normally inclined to do so, well…  recent events might make him afraid to say anything on behalf of his client.  You see, over the weekend allegations came out that she was doing a little prostitution with hotel guests on the side, something that (allegedly) came out when New York prosecutors learned that she had accounts that she failed to disclose:

It was devastating. In recent weeks, investigators collected bank records showing deposits of thousands of dollars in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania to an account in her name.

The woman had repeatedly said that the Sofitel was her only source of income.

Now, investigators confronted her with the bank records.

The woman, silent, turned to Mr. Thompson, seemingly pleading for direction on how to respond. He seemed startled.

“He was speechless,” the well-placed official said.

Ouch, not a pleasant moment for that lawyer.  I mean this is exactly the sort of thing a client doesn’t tell their lawyer, so all things considered, I believe he was caught completely unawares (if this account is true).  And Mr. Thompson, if you are reading this, I feel for you, man.  It’s never pleasant to discover your client has (allegedly) been holding things back.

(That is not to say that a person can’t rape a (alleged) prostitute.  But for the alleged victim to have been one and failed to disclose it, and to pretend that she would never, ever sleep with a guest she barely met, doesn’t exactly enhance her credibility.)

And it is worth noting that she has allegedly been scamming the public housing system, which highlights the issue of the abuse of public assistance.  Remember folks, when you put a need or means test for a government benefit, you are only truly testing how much money they will admit to making and having, and generally that is limited to legal sources of income.  The prostitutes, the drug dealers, they will be able to be rich while Uncle Sam believes them to be poor.  Previously I said she might end up being deported when all of this is done.  Let me revise that: she might go to prison, too.

But focusing back on that physical evidence issue, there was this bit in the New York Times article, too:

Then, for some 10 days, prosecutors were unable to get Mr. Thompson to bring her in; the lawyer said she was being treated for a shoulder injury that she suffered in the attack, an injury she had not reported earlier.

(emphasis added.) So it verifies that she claimed to be injured, independent of Time, but at the same time, this undermines the credibility of her claim that she was injured in the shoulder.  Even assuming that she was bruised as described and injured in the shoulder, who is to say that DSK did it?  Oh, right, she will, except if all that has been alleged about her is true, she has zero credibility.

Of course there is still an accusation waiting for him in France by Tristane Banon, and DSK has a response to that, too:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn isn’t taking his second sexual assault accusation sitting down. His lawyers say they will file a slander complaint against novelist Tristane Banon, who earlier today siad she will file a criminal sexual assault complaint against the former International Monetary Fund chief. Banon said in 2007 that she had been sexually assaulted by a politician, but her lawyer says her mother dissuaded her from naming the culprit. She named Strauss-Kahn as her attacker after his arrest on May 14, and today said she intends to press charges. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers said that the French politician “has always said that the incident described by Ms[.] Banon since 2007 is imaginary.”

But in her case, her claim appears to be fairly credible:

Banon gave her now widely quoted account of near rape by Strauss-Kahn when she appeared on a talk show called 93, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in 2007. Although Strauss-Kahn’s name was bleeped out at the time it aired, everyone in the know in Paris understood whom she was talking about. Indeed, according to one well-connected hostess, Banon was being invited to dinner parties around that time just so people could hear the story.

The format for the television show was discussion around a candlelit table, with liberal servings of red wine and a semblance of sophisticated, cynical, very Parisian repartee. “It went very badly with [bleep],” says Banon, half laughing as she compares him to a “rutting chimpanzee.” Her host chimes in that [bleep] is “obsessed with chicks. No, it’s true, he’s obsessed with chicks.” Then Banon goes on to say Strauss-Kahn put his hand on her hand, then her arm. Then they started grappling on the floor as she tried to fend him off. He unclasped her bra in front; tried to pull down her jeans. She kicked him, she accused him of trying to rape her; he let her go. The other guests seemed at least as amused as they were appalled listening to Banon’s story.

So if true, that means that around four years ago she made the accusation against him, in name, and the only thing that prevented it from going to air was the censor’s bleep.  Indeed, there might be an unedited version of the accusation, and if not, at the very least everyone in the studio was a witness to the bleeped.  It would be one thing if she merely made the accusation now, but having made it so long ago, lends her credibility.

And I will note that for DSK, he almost has to file a defamation suit against her.  If he is claiming he is innocent, especially if he wants to neutralize the influence of her accusations on the potential criminal trial in New York, he has to call his prior accuser a liar, too, and act every bit as indignant as an innocent man would.

Which doesn’t mean he isn’t, you know, innocent.  But, bluntly, if all of this “evidence” reported in these various stories is verified, Banon is the only accuser who has a reasonable chance to be believed.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

39 Responses to “The Case Against Dominique Strauss-Kahn Getting Weaker Still? (Update: U.S. Charges to be Dropped?)”

  1. The linked NY Post article says one hell of a lot more than your post indicates. Why the rush to judgment? Accusations are not proof of guilt.

    The NY case is a travesty, and the French accuser’s case is yet to be examined. So far all we have is accusations. DSK may be a cad, but that’s yet to be proved. He deserves a fair hearing. Character assassination is not justice, never was and never will be. Let the courts do their job. Till then hold your condemnation.

    ropelight (a0c754)

  2. rope

    um, what did the post article say that the post didn’t cover in other ways. at most the claim by DSK that they were engaged in consensual prostitution, which is implied but not stated in my post.

    as for rush to judgement… who is doing that?

    I have always said that he might be innocent. i have assessed people’s credibility, but saying that Banon, for instance, has decent credibility is not the same as saying he is guilty.

    as for whether he is a cad or not, i think that was established ages ago, although by french standards he is a proper politician.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. Arron, It just appalls me that this woman’s accusation was enough to cost DSK not only his job as Managing Director of the IMF, but also his freedom, and perhaps his opportunity to challenge Sarkozy for the leadership of France.

    Is that justice?

    Where was the presumption of innocence? Did we learn nothing from the Duke Lacrosse case?

    (If you find this comment inadequately detailed to explain my initial reaction, let me know. I’m on my way to the doctor this morning, but I’ll have time to respond this afternoon. Best Regards.)

    ropelight (a0c754)

  4. rope

    okay, i think i understand your comment.

    And… look we arrest a person based on probable cause, not based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If his freedom was not limited, he would be right now sharing a flat with Roman Polanski for all we know. my joke isn’t meant to associate the man with Polanski’s crime, but the fact that once you leave the US it can be a royal pain to get you back.

    Should the IMF have fired him? tough call. but if i was in it, i would consider three things, only: 1) the fact he wasn’t currently able to do the job, 2) the fact that he planned to run for president, which meant he didn’t intend to keep the job long-term, anyway, and 3) the liability they could face from any sexual harassment suits. fwiw…

    anyway, thanks for the clarification, but yes, i do think the NY police acted exactly correctly. She was apparently very credible at the beginning and only fell apart under investigation.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  5. This case is getting uglier and uglier. My least cynical view is that DSK got a little too hands on during what started out as a consensual, but paid-for encounter.

    But the other thing is what the hell is going on with Local 6 of the hotel workers union there in NYC. They’re the ones that determine which people work at the Sofitel. Are they explicitly sending pretty girls to work on the same floor as rich European clients? I think there are several trails of criminality that need to be looked into…

    Xmas (a633e2)

  6. xmas

    it would be funny if this boomeranged on the union.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  7. One more quick and inadequate comment, then I have to go.

    Arron, in reference to your #1: Please consider that DSK was on his way to Berlin for an IMF conference when he was arrested.

    The reason he “wasn’t currently able to do the job” was because he was in police custody as a result of the hotel maid’s accusation.

    Now, while it’s true he couldn’t do his job from the jailhouse, his absence certainly wasn’t volitional and could hardly justify termination.

    ropelight (a0c754)

  8. Oh what tangled webs we weave, etc, etc., on both sides.

    PatAZ (4bead0)

  9. So the whole thing may have been a set up to remove the head of the IMF and replace him with a Chicago crony of Obama’s?

    kansas (7b4374)

  10. The Strauss-Kahn case may be analogous to one here in Chicago.

    Two CPD officers picked up a drunken woman, took her home, and had sex with her. She claims rape, they claim consensual.

    But in either case, the officers were on duty, and left their patrol zone. The apparent consensus among other CPD officers is that even if the rape charge is complete hooey, those two officers still deserve to be fired.

    The parallel: even if DSK’s version of the incident is true, it’s still damning. Buying anonymous sex from a hotel maid?

    It’s liek the question I used to ask Clinton apologists (none of whom could answer it): If you knew that a very senior executive had sexual encounters with a very junior staff member in his workplace, would you ever consider hiring him for anything?

    Rich Rostrom (1e3f90)

  11. An interesting side note to Tristane Banon’s reluctance to report the alleged sexual assault of her by DSK: it was politics and its ties that kept her mum for so long,

    Her mother, Anne Mansouret, a Socialist Party official, persuaded her at the time not to file suit against a man who was close to her family and to their politics, Ms. Mansouret conceded in a television interview on Monday.

    Suggesting that she probably was in error, Ms. Mansouret recounted the conversation this way: “Listen, you know, if he had raped you, I wouldn’t have any hesitation, but that wasn’t the case. He sexually assaulted you, there wasn’t any rape per se; so until the end of your life, you’re going to have on your résumé, you know, Tristane Banon is the girl who … ’ ”

    So the convoluted thinking of French women is, if he rapes you, well by all means report it. However if it’s sexual assault, then it’s *only* sexual assault and better to live with it quietly lest anyone make accusations of you…

    Surely no greater liberated women exist than in France.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  12. rich

    so you feel that hiring a prostitute is enough..

    fair enough, but i am not sure it is enough to justify firing… in france.

    also, incidentally, that would suggest that they could theoretically charge him with prostitution, but i doubt they will.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  13. Based on Vance’s record, I don’t think he could convict a ham sandwich, he’s as bad as those DA’s back in the late 80s, but today’s Journal, offers
    an even more nuanced view of the case,

    ian cormac (d380ce)

  14. _______________________________________________

    So the convoluted thinking of French women is, if he rapes you, well by all means report it.

    But report it only if the perpetrator is NOT a kind-hearted, generous, compassionate, wonderful, sophisticated liberal.

    The case involves a wealthy leftist (apparently the epitome of a limousine liberal) and a woman from Africa, who probably — based on her flaky background and the socio-political traits of Third World societies — is of the left too.

    It’s a given that all parties have been, and are, guilty of lousy, crummy judgment and probably a c’est la vie, feel-good-do-it mentality. If Strauss-Kahn’s semen can be traced to the housekeeper, and she, in turn, has a history of being a hooker, the two at least are guilty of being involved in the so-called victimless crime of prostitution.

    Beyond that, something is defective about any adult, certainly one who has reached the ripe ol’ age of Strauss-Kahn, who embraces a leftist mentality well after his or her teenage/college years. So the French dude also is guilty of a form of mental incapacity. He therefore has a leg up as France’s next president.

    Mark (411533)

  15. IIRC, wasn’t DSK in a real hurry to get on a plane, at the time of his arrest, such that he left behind personal effects, such as a cellphone? That doesn’t necessarily make him guilty of anything, aside from engaging in the services of a prostitute, but I thought, at the time, his circumstances of getting the heck out of Dodge right quick was an additional indicator of guilt.

    Now, she may very well have been raped, but her credibility is so shot that the beyond a reasonable doubt standard is probably shot.

    rbj (9ae8d9)

  16. People should be aware that the NY Post does not employ fact-checkers. Each reporter is expected to fact-check his/her own stories; the veracity of the stories therefore rests on the reporter’s own reputation for honesty and competence. Just so you know.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  17. IIRC, wasn’t DSK in a real hurry to get on a plane, at the time of his arrest, such that he left behind personal effects, such as a cellphone?

    Isn’t everyone with a flight reservation “in a real hurry” to make it? And don’t people commonly leave things behind in hotels? I know I have. I’ve never left a phone behind, but over the years I’ve left behind a jacket, my house keys, and various other items. In the first two instances I had to have the hotel send them to me.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  18. rbj

    that is what i have heard, regarding leaving stuff behind.

    otoh, if i was his lawyer, i could spin 2 scenarios to explain.

    1) he was fleeing the country to avoid being charged with prostitution (i would have to word it very carefully so as to avoid an admission that is admissible in court), or

    2) she indicated she was going to frame him at the time, and he was fleeing an imminent frame up.

    i suppose option 3 could be he was called away on business or something like that. but there you go…

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  19. Greetings:

    I seem to have missed out on the origination of this “the victim’s lawyer” concept. I thought that the prosecutor was the victim’s lawyer. And, what are the underlying economics of this aspect of our evolving legal system?

    11B40 (0d0eba)

  20. Thanks Aaron, #2 seems plausible. Was she going after DSK as DSK, or did she just assume that the guy was wealthy ($3K / night a room.) But if that were the case, and assuming she had been paid for services before, why would she opt for such a scheme now. Could it simply have been a case where a client realized he didn’t have the money to pay her? The whole thing just seems odd, including her ability to fool all the other staff, the NYPD and the DA’s office. It was DSK’s lawyer who said they were going to attack the maid’s credibility, and now, suddenly, her credibility is shot.

    And Milhouse, he didn’t have a plane reservation, IIRC. He had a standing agreement with Air France to get a first class seat anytime he wanted, without paying for it. That’s another thing that came out of the initial story.

    rbj (9ae8d9)

  21. This is quite a fascinating case, and I trust you’ll be keeping track of it closely Patterico.

    I’ve blogged about it

    http://fablog.ehrensteinland.com/2011/07/04/fait-diver-hommage-a-yogi-berra/

    and expect to do so again, as the smoke clears.
    Not to mention the mirrors.

    David Ehrenstein (2550d9)

  22. From the GS-HJ lobby ^^^

    Icy Texan (5f36a2)

  23. What a lovely conversation that must’ve been between DSK and his wife:
    Wife: “You pig! You raped a woman?”
    DSK: “Relax, baby. It was consensual!”

    Neat-o

    Icy Texan (5f36a2)

  24. hotel maids are desperately lonely lots of times is my understanding

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  25. Millhouse and rbj,

    I read that DSK zipped out of NY to catch a flight back to Paris, where he was due to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel the following day (Sunday).

    The feminist spin on the story is interesting to watch unfold as well. I can’t say that Feministe doesn’t make a valid point amongst its various leaps: we want our alleged rape victims to have a squeaky clean image. If it’s less than that, it creates the image (at some level) of asking for it.

    Of course both Feministe and LAT Banks’ columns first cherry pick and then neatly spin the maid into not just an alleged rape victim, but the fuller victim of the entrenched patriarchal society and system we are forced to live in.

    Responsibility for her illegal actions and the subsequent casting doubts upon her character and integrity, is seemingly superfluous.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  26. I have never heard of a hotel maid working as a prostitute during her normal maid work hours.

    Has anyone else?

    Hotel maids hooking on their off hours, sure.

    Hookers in hotels, sure.

    But maids hooking when they are supposed to be maiding?

    I’ve stayed thousands of nights in hundreds of hotels in the US and outside of the US. These ranged from $1.65 (yes the decimal is correct) in NYC to $500+ per night hotels occasionally.

    I have never even been allowed to be in the room at the same time as the maid.

    Hooking in the morning also doesn’t seem like it would be very lucrative. How many men are in their rooms at that time? They are usually out working or doing business.

    And hooking while she was under police surveillance in their hotel? What is up with that? If that was happening what were her handlers doing?

    I am particularly suspicious of the timeline too with the case not falling apart, at least publicly, until 1 day after Chicagoan Christine LaGarde gets DSKs job.

    This whole thing stinks worse than Chicago in the summer.

    John

    John Henry (e7b00f)

  27. It was only eight days ago, according to the daily news of Monday, that prosecutors became aware of problems with her story. I think that tends to reinforce the idea there *was* corroboratinbg evidence.

    The case is being dropped not because there is anything wrong with the corroborating evidence (injuries to the maid, witnesses who say she was told the room was empty) but because of a bad principle among prosecutors: T hey don’t wnat to put anybody on the witness stand whom they cannot vouch for. This is very big problem

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  28. Sounds like they deserved each other. They have each made their lives a little more interesting.

    Gbear (e4411e)

  29. i suppose option 3 could be he was called away on business or something like that.

    Excuse me? Every single report on his arrest mentioned that he had a meeting with Merkel to go to. Are you suggesting that he set up this meeting on his way to the airport?!

    rbj, where did you hear that he had no reservation?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  30. A hotel housekeeper whose account of being sexually attacked was so compelling that it brought tears to the eyes of seasoned investigators. Preliminary forensic and electronic evidence, as well as interviews with witnesses, that poked no immediate holes in her story. And an accused man, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, with a ticket for a flight to France, approaching boarding time at Kennedy International Airport.

    I read that DSK has a standing agreement with Air France for a 1st class seat when needed, however, in this instance he he was on board a plane that he indeed had a ticket for.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  31. Also, Reuters reports that the maid is fighting back,

    In yet another twist to a saga that has captivated much of the world, the accuser sued the New York Post and five of its journalists on Tuesday for reporting she was a prostitute.

    She filed suit in a court in the Bronx, accusing the Post of publishing false and defamatory articles between July 2-4.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  32. Given the physical evidence of sexual contact, there are really only three theories that could be true:

    1. The head of the IMF raped a maid in his hotel room just before jetting off to discuss the Greek bailout with Angela Merkel.

    2. A hotel maid in her early 30s enters a hotel room, spots a short, fat, ugly old man in his birthday suit, and is so overcome with lust that she just can’t stop herself from offering him oral pleasure.

    3. A hooker and a john engage in consensual sexual activity in a hotel room, but afterward there is a dispute over money that turns violent, resulting in injuries and signs of a struggle. The john gets the hell out of Dodge, the angry hooker cries rape.

    Ask any big-city vice cop if Scenario #3 ever happens. (Hint: it happens all the time)

    Occam’s Razor: She’s a hooker.

    Major Kong (f4574f)

  33. what kind of a hooker doesn’t get the agreed money up front? Silly me.

    and most of what was originally reported about the arrest was later (consistently) reported to be false. He was in a hurry to leave the hotel, but didn’t go straight to the airport, he went to lunch with his daughter (the restaurant has been repeatedly named…maybe McCormick and Something?) then went to the airport to get on a pre-booked flight for a pre-scheduled meeting in Europe.

    Lisa (dd6626)

  34. #1. ropelight – character assassination comes during and after the trial, as “justice” takes it’s due course, and perhaps whining about the same thing that decides it for most people in the pre-trial or pre-charge region is a bit – naive.

    If you disagree – note the Casey Anthony situation – and the ABC juror interview – which certainly should crush the hilarity I saw here in the Casey Anthony thread.

    It appears most people here decide desired legal guilt or innocence based upon “character assassination ratings” , before, during, and after…

    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

  35. Still huffing paint, I see, silicondoc…

    ColonelHaiku (822dce)

  36. Hell, proven correct is the answer Haiku – enjoy that ABC juror interview

    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

  37. M. Strauss-Kahn devrait s’en tenir à la copulation avec des caniches français.

    ColonelHaiku (822dce)

  38. Le bâtard cornée ne peut pas garder sa saucisse dans son pantalon pour sauver sa vie!

    ColonelLePew (822dce)

  39. le fromage mangeant singe reddition devrait se présenter aux élections, il serait amusant de le voir interagir avec Barry le Destructeur.

    ColonelLePew (822dce)


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