Damning new facts released in DSK case—but can we believe them?

In a story dated May 23, Fox News provides what sound like damning details on Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged sex attack on the hotel maid. But why are these crucial facts—almost all of which come from the maid’s statement to the police immediately after the attack nine days ago—being leaked out like this, by dribs and drabs? Why are we just hearing these things now? Since the police evidently wanted the information released, why didn’t they provide it to the public directly, instead of anonymously leaking it to the media? And why have they stretched out the revelations in disconnected bits and pieces, instead of simply telling us what they know? It was the same with the Osama bin Laden raid. Why didn’t government in a coherent official account tell us directly what had happened, instead of anonymously leaking the information, drip by contradictory drip, via numerous government officials to numerous media outlets?

The upshot is that I am suspicious of everything now. The loss of probity among our society’s elites, particularly in the government and the media, has become so widespread and systematic that I no longer trust at face value anything they say. Which doesn’t mean that the facts reported in the below story are necessarily false, but that, because of the suspicious way they have been leaked, we cannot accept them as true. I don’t think we will know the real facts until the trial, and that is probably a year away.

If a reader retorts to me, “Where have you been? The government has always lied to us,” my answer is, we used to be able to believe what the police told us about a crime they were investigating.

Here is the Fox article:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a New York City hotel maid, “Don’t you know who I am! Don’t you know who I am?” while pinning her down during the alleged sexual assault, law enforcement sources close to the investigation told FoxNews.com.

That and other details of the maid’s complaint to police emerged Monday as police reportedly confirmed that disgraced ex-International Monetary Fund boss Strauss-Kahn’s DNA was found on the maid’s shirt.

Authorities were able to match a DNA sample taken from Strauss-Kahn with semen on the shirt, law enforcement officials told the Wall Street Journal. Someone briefed on the ongoing investigation confirmed to FoxNews.com that Strauss-Kahn’s DNA was found on the maid’s uniform.

Strauss-Kahn, who is out on $1 million bail, faces sexual assault charges in the alleged attack.

Sources told FoxNews.com that the 32-year-old African immigrant repeatedly told her alleged attacker, “Please, please stop. No!”

The sources said she had no idea who was staying in the $3,000-a-night junior presidential suite until after the alleged attack, which lasted approximately thirty minutes.

According to the maid’s account, as told to investigators and relayed to FoxNews.com, the maid entered the room and was confronted by a naked Strauss-Kahn, who emerged from the bathroom and began grabbing the maid’s breasts while trying to pin her down on his bed.

The maid is deeply religious, investigators said, and immediately put her hands over her eyes so she wouldn’t see the naked Frenchman. He ran to her, began grabbing her breasts and pulling her down the hallway inside the luxury suite toward the bedroom.

The blood-stained white bed sheets were later taken into evidence by police.

The maid said she tried a variety of tactics to get herself out of the room and away from Strauss-Kahn. She said, “my manager is in the hallway,” which he wasn’t—but the former IMF chief wasn’t scared off. The single mother allegedly told the Frenchman that the job was important to her and any conflict with a hotel guest would result in her losing her job.

“Please stop. I need my job, I can’t lose my job, don’t do this. I will lose my job. Please, please stop! Please stop!” she told Strauss-Kahn, according to law enforcement sources.

Strauss-Kahn allegedly responded: “No, baby. Don’t worry, you’re not going to lose your job. Please, baby, don’t worry,” Strauss-Kahn responded, according to investigators. “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?”

While she continued to plead with him, begging him to stop, he allegedly continued to attack her, dragging her down the hallway.

Ben Brafman, an attorney for Strauss-Kahn, said he couldn’t comment.

Erin Duggan, spokeswoman for New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance also declined to comment.

Jeffrey Shapiro, attorney for the maid, did not immediately return requests for messages left on his cell phone, at his office and via email.

When she pushed him away and ran toward the door, she slipped on a newspaper bag on the floor and fell to her knees. That’s when Strauss-Kahn came up behind her and forced her to perform oral sex, sources said.

The maid finally escaped from her alleged attacker by pushing him into the sharp edge of an armoire in the hotel suite. Sources said the Frenchman has a gash on his back where he hit the armoire.

She ran into the service corridor on the floor where co-workers found her and tried to console her. She was shaking profusely and unable to even hold a cup of water, sources said.

Strauss-Kahn also made passes at two separate female concierges during his 24-hour stay. When he checked in, he grabbed and massaged the hand of the concierge and invited her to his room. She declined. Later on that night, Strauss-Kahn called downstairs and invited a different female concierge up to his room. “Come upstairs, I’ve got a beautiful room, a great bottle of wine.” That employee also declined the Frenchman’s advances, sources said.

Sources close to the maid described her as a model employee with a pristine work record who doesn’t drink or smoke and rushes home after work to take care of her children.

On Saturday, May 14, sources said the Sofitel hotel maid followed hotel protocol, knocking three times while yelling “housekeeping” at increasingly loud volume before finally ringing the doorbell. There was no answer from inside the room, and it was after noon checkout time. Sources said the former IMF chief now indicted on sexual assault charges did not request a late checkout and should not have been in his room, which he’d rented for one night.

Additionally, a room service employee cleared Strauss-Kahn’s room and found the room empty minutes before the maid entered. Investigators said they believe the man known as the “Great Seducer” may have intentionally hid from the room service employee, knowing that the maid would enter the room shortly after.

- end of initial entry -

Sage McLaughlin writes:

When I saw the report that DSK was supposedly yelling, “Don’t you know who I am?” as he held down the hotel maid, I was immediately suspicious. It just doesn’t sound normal or natural, and it is all-too-perfectly calibrated to offend an American audience, particularly that part of it that relies upon Fox News. I doubt very seriously that such a man, staying in a foreign country no less, would have assumed that an immigrant hotel maid would automatically know who he was. [LA replies: DSK has resided since 2007 in Washington, D.C., where the headquarters of the IMF are located.] It is still more implausible that he would shout such a clichéd line in any event. If it stinks of propaganda and lies, then I disbelieve it until hard evidence is produced.

And you are absolutely right that the venality and dishonesty of our law enforcement officials has increased dramatically in our lifetimes, and so with all our public institutions. It is no longer the case that a conservative can or should assume trust of law enforcement as a default position. It is very tragic that this is so, and I’ve come to the conclusion only slowly and reluctantly, but that’s where we are now.

La replies:

Thanks for bringing out the point about “Don’t you know who I am?” As I remember, that is a remark mainly associated with Sen. Kerry, who used it in a movie theater line or some such situation. How could an African immigrant maid in New York City possibly know who the head of the IMF was?

Sage replies:

Yes, Kerry supposedly used that line with a cashier, or something like that. It was something the conservative commentariat seized on for a while in 2003. Whatever the case, it makes some amount of sense for an American politician to use that line on an American clerk, but it doesn’t fit here, no matter how arrogant DSK might be. Again, it’s just too perfect, if you get my meaning.

Jim C. writes:

They are not damning, as all these so-called facts are consistent with consensual sex, including the blood (menstrual?). And I’m not buying rape flowing from DSK’s bragging about himself. It sounds like BS.

LA replies:

I get the impression that you’re coming from some men’s rights perspective which automatically dismisses all women’s charges against men. A scenario of consensual sex is even more unbelievable than the other scenarios we’ve been presented with.

Leonard D. writes:

Where have you been? The government has always … wait.

There is a difference in looking at a phenomenon, and seeing it. In your case, I do believe you have been looking at it for some time, and you have not the ideological blinders that most people use to avoid seeing. You certainly have seen it in the past (i.e.: this). But seeing still takes work, as the famous Orwell quote reminds us.

In any case, I think that in general the police and prosecutors do lie and mislead the public less than other parts of the government. But this is because there is usually little incentive for them to do so, because most of what they do (enforce the law against poor and/or stupid minorities) cannot possibly be fit into the liberal script. You see much more prevarication in situations where the police can work in harmony with the liberal script. But you can also see it in more sordid, self-interested cases; for example if you look into many cases of alleged police misconduct, you’ll see people lying right and left to cover it up.

Jim C. replies to LA:
The defense hasn’t told its side. OK, I don’t know what the facts are—but neither do you. At this point it would seem that the maid is somewhat credible, but her story just does not ring true with me. Given DSK’s sleazy background, it would seem that his modi operandi are flattery and coercion, not rape. I think we’ll soon be hearing a more nuanced version of the events from DSK’s lawyers, so let’s keep an open mind and wait for all the evidence to materialize.

LA replies:

Which is not going to be for many months. So maybe we should start ignoring the “dribs and drabs” revelations we keep getting from the medea and just wait for the trial, the way they do in Canada. (My gosh, that’s the second complimentary thing I’ve said about Canada in a week. What’s happening to me?)

Sophia A. writes:

You wrote:

“my answer is, we used to be able to believe what the police told us about a crime they were investigating. “

I just don’t agree with the above.

Look at any copy of a New York [?] from their sensationalistic “Weegee” heyday (see below, if you don’t know who he was) to the 1970s, when the feminist movement began to agitate about coverage of rape cases, and you’ll see that crime and especially rape were opportunities for salacious exaggeration and cop-grandstanding.

More bad than good came of the so-called second wave of feminism, but a tiny bit of good might have been the censorial Puritanism that was forced upon the tabloids with respect to rape coverage.

Of course trials aren’t about the truth, but perceptive observers may get more of the truth from a trial than from news coverage. [LA replies: Yes, I did not mean that a newspaper reader gets a sufficient understanding of the facts at the trial , only that the trial will be a better source than the prior leaks to the papers.]

Take the Dharun Ravi case now going on in New Jersey. Everyone is acting as though he literally pushed Clementi off the George Washington bridge. Clementi was publicly humiliated, he committed suicide. That’s what the stories say, that is the truth.

But wait … here and there I read that Clementi knew he was being photographed. What’s that all about? Was there an element of performance going on here? And what if it turns out that he had a history of suicide attempts? (Stress on the “what if?”—I do not know this.) I am only saying that many things get buried in the rush of journalistic coverage and a false picture emerges.

Back to DSK. I do think that a coerced sexual activity occurred, but we have to take everything with a grain of salt. On another blog, a commenter guessed that DSK was waiting for a call girl, and came out of the toilet for an assignation. One of the photographs of the alleged victim showed a strikingly good looking young woman. I have read that she is six feet tall. Perhaps she wasn’t wearing her head-scarf, or perhaps she was wearing a regular scarf, not a “hijab” thingie. A slender, young, six-feet tall pretty black woman really would have looked like a call girl, especially to a “rutting chimpanzee.”

If so, it would make the whole thing gruesomely funny, on one level. It’s so incredibly French. Mistaken identity lands rich Frenchman in Rikers.

In any case, no, I do not think that there was ever a past in which we could trust the cops to tell the truth to the newspapers.

LA replies:

What you say may all be true, but the upshot is that you’re dismissing my point that the media and government have gotten worse than they were. Take the use of unnamed sources. It used to be that a source was identified institutionally. For example, a story about the Secretary of State would say, “A senior State Department official tells CBS…” And the reader would know that the source was probably the Secretary of State himself. But today, media commonly say things like, “A source tells us…” Not a “senior Police Department source.” Not even a “Police Department source.” But just “a source.” What source? Some guy who spoke to a guy who knows one of the detectives in the case? This is an example of how media coverage has gotten significantly less reliable in recent decades.

Corey N. writes:

What Sage McLaughlin is neglecting, or ignorant of, is that in France EVERYBODY knows who DSK is.

He has operated in that fishbowl his whole life. To the extent he has gone abroad, it has been within the context of being a member of the global elite—so everybody still knew who he was.

It’s completely consistent that he would take it for granted that ordinary Americans were just as aware of him as ordinary French. He has never known anything different. If it had been pointed out to him in dispassionate conversation that most Americans don’t know him, he might have thought about it and accepted it, but on an instinctive level it remains an idea quite foreign to his entire experience. It is also completely consistent with the multitude of stories coming out in the French press about DSK’s behavior with women in the past.

I find it simply mind-boggling the number of people who can not or will not consider that this entire story actually might be exactly as we are told it is: a man used to power decides to have his way with a woman he’s quite confident won’t make an issue of it, because none ever have before.

It is a very simple explanation, very consistent both with human nature in general and the nature of the man in particular, and it fits the facts.

LA replies:

Yes, it’s entirely possible that the maid’s entire accusation is true.

I said something similar a week ago by way of explaining DSK’s possible motivations:

But here’s another way of looking at it. DSK according to all accounts is accustomed to getting his way with women, including by forcing himself on them. As a person gives himself more and more over to sin, the sin takes him over and he progressively loses any control over himself. Thus DSK’s mad criminal attack on the maid.

At the same time, however, I also believe it’s possible that the feminist-dominated police and prosecutors have jumped to conclusions based on automatically believing what a female complainant tells them.

Paul K. writes:

I have to disagree with Sage McLaughlin that the “Don’t you know who I am?” line sounds contrived. I have a friend who is a retired Los Angeles police officer, and he told me he would always hear this from celebrities. Maria Shriver screamed it at an officer who pulled her over for speeding. Henry Louis Gates bellowed it at Sgt. James Crowley during their Cambridge contretemps. The execrable “Snooki” of reality show infamy shouted it at officers when she was arrested on the Jersey shore last year.

Among celebrities and the pampered elite, “Don’t you know who I am?” is the first thing that passes through their minds when they aren’t getting the treatment to which they feel entitled.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 24, 2011 07:33 AM | Send

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