Blockbuster! Case against Strauss-Kahn on verge of collapse over prosecutors’ doubts of accuser’s credibility. DSK may be released soon.
(Note, July 1: Readers’ comments begin here
. See James N.’s detailed argument suggesting that the theory of a planned advance setup of DSK by the accuser and her associates, something I’ve always dismissed out of hand, is plausible.)
The online New York Times reports:
Strauss-Kahn Case Seen as in Jeopardy
- end of initial entry -
The sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on the verge of collapse as investigators have uncovered major holes in the credibility of the housekeeper who charged that he attacked her in his Manhattan hotel suite in May, according to two well-placed law enforcement officials.
Although forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a French politician, and the woman, prosecutors do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself.
Since her initial allegation on May 14, the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the law enforcement officials said.
Senior prosecutors met with lawyers for Mr. Strauss-Kahn on Thursday and provided details about their findings, and the parties are discussing whether to dismiss the felony charges. Among the discoveries, one of the officials said, are issues involving the asylum application of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who is Guinean, and possible links to criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers will return to State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday morning, when Justice Michael J. Obus is expected to consider easing the extraordinary bail conditions that he imposed on Mr. Strauss-Kahn in the days after he was charged.
Indeed, Mr. Strauss-Kahn could be released on his own recognizance, and freed from house arrest, reflecting the likelihood that the serious charges against him will not be sustained. The district attorney’s office may try to require Mr. Strauss-Kahn to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, but his lawyers are likely to contest such a move.
The revelations are a stunning change of fortune for Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62, who was considered a strong contender for the French presidency before being accused of sexually assaulting the woman who went to clean his luxury suite at the Sofitel New York.
Prosecutors from the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who initially were emphatic about the strength of the case and the account of the victim, plan to tell the judge on Friday that they “have problems with the case” based on what their investigators have discovered, and will disclose more of their findings to the defense. The woman still maintains that she was attacked, the officials said.
“It is a mess, a mess on both sides,” one official said. [LA replies: What does that mean? What is the “other side” that is also a mess? An ambiguous statement like this calls for explanation by the reporter.]
According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.
That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.
The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends.
In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application.
A lawyer for the woman, Kenneth Thompson, could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday evening.
In recent weeks, Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, Benjamin Brafman and William W. Taylor III, have made it clear that they would make the credibility of the woman a focus of their case. In a May 25 letter, they said they had uncovered information that would “gravely undermine the credibility” of the accuser.
Still, it was the prosecutor’s investigators who found the information about the woman.
The case involving Mr. Strauss-Kahn has made international headlines and renewed attention on accusations that he had inappropriate behavior toward women in the past, while, more broadly, prompting soul-searching among the French about the treatment of women.
The revelations about the investigators’ findings are likely to buttress the view of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s supporters, who complained that the American authorities had rushed to judgment in the case.
Some of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s allies even contended that he had been set up by his political rivals, an assertion that law enforcement authorities said there was no evidence to support.
Mr. Strauss-Kahn resigned from his post as managing director of the International Monetary Fund in the wake of the housekeeper’s accusations and was required to post $1 million bail and a $5 million bond.
He also agreed to remain under 24-hour home confinement while wearing an ankle monitor and providing a security team and an armed guard at the entrance and exit of the building where he was living. The conditions are costing Mr. Strauss-Kahn $250,000 a month.
Prosecutors had sought the restrictive conditions in part by arguing that the case against Mr. Strauss-Kahn was a strong one, citing a number of factors, including the credibility of his accuser, with one prosecutor saying her story was “compelling and unwavering.”
In the weeks after making her accusations, the woman, who arrived in the United States from Guinea in 2002, was described by relatives and friends as an unassuming and hard-working immigrant with a teenage daughter. She had no criminal record, and had been a housekeeper at the Sofitel for a few years, they said.
Mr. Strauss-Kahn was such a pariah in the initial days after the arrest that neighbors of an Upper East Side apartment building objected when he and his wife tried to rent a unit there. He eventually rented a three-story town house on Franklin Street in TriBeCa.
Under the relaxed conditions of bail to be requested on Friday, the district attorney’s office would retain Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s passport but he would be permitted to travel within the United States.
The woman told the authorities that she had gone to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite to clean it and that he emerged naked from the bathroom and attacked her. The formal charges accused him of ripping her pantyhose, trying to rape her and forcing her to perform oral sex; his lawyers say there is no evidence of force and have suggested that any sex was consensual.
After the indictment was filed, Mr. Vance spoke briefly on the courthouse steps addressing hundreds of local and foreign reporters who had been camped out in front of the imposing stone edifice. He characterized the charges as “extremely serious” and said the “evidence supports the commission of nonconsensual forced sexual acts.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, Mr. Brafman and Mr. Taylor, declined to comment on Thursday evening.
The case was not scheduled to return to court until July 18.
Alexis Zarkov writes:
I am not at all surprised that the case against DSK has come apart. I suspected at the outset that the chambermaid had offered, shall we say, “enhanced room service,” and they got into an argument over price or the extent of the service. I also suspect that the defense has even more negative evidence against the chambermaid that they have not released. The entire case rests on the credibility of the accuser, and that’s been shattered. The prosecution risks extreme embarrassment if they continue, so look for a dismissal tomorrow. Let’s not forget that white-on-black rape is extremely rare, and black criminality is common. Even at the beginning, the odds were in favor of DSK. The press cannot escape their mindset that white people prey on blacks, and this bias infiltrates their coverage.
Today the press announced rumors that Timothy Geithner might leave Treasury. Was he expecting to become Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? Note that currently Geithner is a governor at the IMF. If DSK gets reinstated at IMF and chooses not run for the French presidency, then this opportunity dries up. Just a thought.
From the beginning, I have taken an open, questioning stand on this sensational case and written and posted facts and angles from both sides.
But I must say, in light of the new revelations, that Mr. Zarkov’s comment, “Let’s not forget that white-on-black rape is extremely rare, and black criminality is common,” is telling.
In any event, whatever actually happened in that room (which now we may never find out), the accuser’s established dishonesty, suspicious behavior, and apparent association with criminal activities destroys the case against DSK. It’s hard to understand why the prosecutors took this long to bring out these facts and come to this conclusion. They must have known about her lies for many weeks. On the basis of this long delay (not on the basis of the original arrest), I wonder if DSK has grounds for a suit.
Jim C. writes:
The woman should be deported. I wouldn’t waste taxpayers’ money on imprisoning this criminal.
Sophia A. writes:
What interests me most is the sheer scale of illegality the poor Muslim maid was involved in. And don’t forget, according to the open-borders proponents, these folk are just like your grandparents and mine: hardworking, thrifty, and industrious. Tell you something, Larry, my grandparents weren’t involved in drug-dealing or money laundering. Were yours?
It’s too late for me to deal with the larger issues, except that I have a sneaking feeling DSK may be owed a red-faced apology (although that doesn’t excuse people like BHL reflexively defending him, anymore than it excuses those of us who assumed him guilty).
For now, I just wonder how many “hard-working, thrifty, upright immigrants” (remember how many times the maid was described in those terms?) are involved in crime. In addition to importing yet another racial problem and undercutting U.S. wages, we are importing another group of organized criminals.
The mind boggles.
James N. writes:
Not only was DSK probably set up, but it is also likely that the one(s) who set him up knew him very well.
This heroic single mother undocumented worker with bank accounts in many states didn’t cook this up on the spot.
It turns out, amazingly, that he was just a Great White Defendant after all.
A set up (meaning a set up in advance) seems wildly improbable, like thinking that the 9/11 attack was the result of a plan shared by George W. Bush, Ariel Sharon, and Osama bin Laden. You’re forgetting that his DNA was found on her person. Did she and her West African grifter associates “plan” for that? It seems more likely that the situation, including her story, “evolved” on the spot.
If serious evidence emerges showing that it was planned in advance, I will … well, I won’t eat my hat, since that is physically impossible, but I’ll do something to express in dramatic terms that I was wrong.
James N. replies:
I certainly would have agreed (and did in fact agree) until yesterday that a “setup” was so improbable as to be evidence of serious problems in believers.
But look at the (alleged) facts. The maid requested assignment to his floor. She entered his room and DNA ensued. She then put up such a fuss as to make a man with legendary aplomb flee in panic, leaving his cell phone behind. She involved witnesses early (uncharacteristic for illegals, especially for illegals with $800,000 in the bank) and told a story tailor-made for DSK’s personal history (except that he had never yet been charged with a crime).
A non-conspiratorial explanation would be that she was working on the side, hit into an unexpected payday with this particular John, and tried to make the most of it.
But all of her story seems to be designed with particularity to target DSK’s own particular vulnerabilities. It’s possible that they had a prior acquaintance (although DSK appears to have a Caucasian orientation, and, in marvelous French, he described her as très peu seduisante (very little seductive), but her accusations really needed DSK’s prior history to send him to Rikers.
It is incredible (but true) that she called a convicted felon, in prison, within 24 hours to discuss what to do next. It is incredible (but true) that her allegation that her asylum application contains a false assertion of rape.
It is incredible (but true) that she used “victim of female genital mutilation” to game the gullible US immigration process.
It is incredible (but true) that she has active bank accounts in several states, moving hundreds of thousands in cash.
Let us say, Lucianne.com’s crudities aside, that a setup is more likely this morning than it was yesterday morning.
And, as one who has had to pay off on “eat my hat”, may I suggest, in the event that others are shown to be involved, French’s mustard?
I have to admit, you’re laying out what seems like a more and more plausible case.
I’m not sure about French’s, but I have always liked French mustard.
Maybe, if the condition of my promise is met, i.e., serious evidence emerges showing that the maid planned it in advance, I will have a sandwich with mustard in a French restaurant in my neighborhood, and stand up in the middle of the meal and announce to the room that I was wrong, that DSK was set up.
Sophia A. writes:
When I wrote you the email last night, the phrase “poor Muslim maid” looked in the context of the email to be so obviously sarcastic I didn’t feel there was a need to call attention to it. But reading it on your website, it looked un-sarcastic. (As they say, sarcasm doesn’t travel well on the Internets.) So I’m just underscoring verbally that I meant it with the utmost sarcasm.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 30, 2011 11:00 PM | Send
Like you, I thought a set-up was one of those things people with too active imaginations came up with. Now I wonder: what else could it be? We don’t know the particulars yet, but I can’t see how it wasn’t a set-up. There was some kind of sexual contact. She cries rape. She calls one of her many criminal associates. Hello?
Now think about this. I don’t know what DSK’s feelings about open borders in Europe are, but I do know that he’s widely regarded as the Euro version of what we call a “liberal”—he was going to be the Socialist candidate running against Sarko. So let’s assume he’s their version of a soft-wet Democrat on the subject of open borders. [LA replies: We don’t have to assume: he is an all-out proponent of continued Third-World immigration and the continued Islamization of Europe including letting Turkey in the EU.]
Although I defend him as being innocent in this particular case, isn’t he rather hoist by his own petard in being disgraced by an illegal alien slut and grifter with numerous criminal connections? Just exactly what does Mr. Sophisticated think is flooding into his own country, with his party’s blessing? He probably thought she was a poor, pious Muslim gal in a headscarf who would react as all the white Frenchwomen whom he had pressured in the past had: with shame, and discretion.
When all this has died down, let us focus anew on the character of the settlers (the word I prefer over immigrants) flooding our shores. Let us take a look at what’s under those headscarves, shall we? We shall find predatory brains, adept at exploiting our weaknesses. The mistake this gal made was aiming too high—she should have stuck to crime on her own level. Then she would have done well.
I am positive we will find that underneath the veneer of industry, family values, thrift, and hard work is a seething mass of racketeering and lawbreaking. Muslim settlers may not be intellectually developed, but they are incredibly clever at understanding how OUR system works and exploiting it. Not that that’s too hard to do. What a bunch of chumps we are!